The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Matt Smaby to a standard three-year entry-level contract, Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced today. Smaby will be available for the 2006-07 season. In accordance with club policy financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.
"We are extremely pleased that Matt has decided to begin his professional career," Feaster said. "We had tried to sign him last summer, but he was committed to returning to North Dakota and helping lead his team to the Frozen Four. He obviously had another great season at UND and he continued to mature and develop as a player. We believe he has a very bright future with our organization and we look forward to getting him to our summer conditioning camp, Traverse City Rookie Tournament and main camp in Tampa."
The 22-year-old Minneapolis, Minnesota native captained the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux that reached the NCAA Frozen Four for the second consecutive season earlier this month. As a junior, Smaby skated in 45 games with the Sioux in 2005-06, scoring four goals and dishing out 15 assists. He was tied for third on the team in plus/minus rating with a plus-20 rating. Smaby was also one of three Sioux to be named to the All-WCHA Third Team.
A three-year letterman, Smaby scored six goals and recorded 29 assists in 128 career games at North Dakota. He ranked second on the team in penalty minutes in 2004-05 with 86. He also led all UND rookie defensemen in games played during the 2003-04 season.
The Lightning selected the 6-foot-5, 220-pound blue-liner in the second round, 41st overall, at the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.