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by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed their 2005 first-round draft pick, defenseman Vladmir Mihalik, to a standard three-year entry level contract, Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced.

"Vladimir Mihalik is a big, mobile defenseman who has really taken a solid step forward in his development this year in Major Junior,” Feaster said. “He has started to grow into his big frame and as a result has shown increased agility, mobility and quickness in his skating not just from the time we drafted him but even from the start of this season. He is much more confident with the puck and he is paying attention to the details in such a way as to make him a leader and a go-to player on his team.

“We are very pleased with his development to date and to the extent he truly commits himself to our summer workout program this summer he will be a fun player for our fans to watch in training camp. We look forward to having him begin his professional career within the Lightning organization."

Mihalik, a 6-foot-7, 222-pound native of Presov, Slovakia, played in 53 games with the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League this season. Playing in his second WHL season, Mihalik scored seven goals and recorded 26 points. He also played in four playoff games.

The 20-year-old also represented Slovakia in this year’s World Junior Championships and played in six games while scoring his first goal in three trips to the tournament.

In two WHL seasons split between Prince George and the Red Deer Rebels, Mihalik played in 115 games and scored 10 goals with 28 assists.

Mihalik was ranked 12th among European skaters by NHL’s Central Scouting at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He was selected by Tampa Bay in the first-round, 30th overall, at that same draft.

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