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Lightning Sign Free Agent Defenseman Mattias Ohlund

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent defenseman Mattias Ohlund to a multi-year contract today, Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced. Ohlund will be looked upon to solidify and lead the Lightning’s young, developing defensive corps.

“We are thrilled Mattias elected to sign with the Tampa Bay Lightning today,” said Lawton upon making the announcement. “With so many options in front of him, having him elect to play in Tampa demonstrates the faith he has in our team’s strategy and vision for success, which should be exciting for our fans. This signing accomplished two primary goals for us. First, we have added the top-two defenseman we coveted to lead our blue line and second, we have found a leader and a mentor for Victor Hedman as he prepares to play in the NHL this fall.”

Ohlund, 6-foot-2, 227 pounds, has skated in 770 career NHL games, all with Vancouver. He has amassed 93 career goals and 325 points with 36 power play goals and 19 game-winning goals. Ohlund is the Canucks’ all-time leader in goals by a defenseman and led the team in ice time during the 2006-07 (24:47) and 2007-08 (23:46) seasons. He was named to the NHL All-Star game in 1998-99 and the NHL All-Rookie Team in 1997-98. Ohlund was also recognized by his team, earning the Canucks’ Most Outstanding Defenseman award in 2005-06 and 1999-00.

A native of Pitea, Sweden, Ohlund has played in 52 career playoff games, recording nine goals and 28 points. He is tied for 11th overall on the Vancouver all-time playoff points list.

Ohlund, 32, played in all 82 games for the Vancouver Canucks last season, recording six goals and 25 points. He ranked third on the team in points among defensemen and second in plus/minus with a plus-14 rating. Ohlund also led the team in hits with 152, was third overall in average ice time with 21:34 per game and was fourth in hits with 109. He also played in 10 Stanley Cup Playoff games, recording a goal and three points.

A Swedish national, Ohlund has represented his country in three separate Olympic Games. He won the Gold Medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics and also participated in 2002 and 1998. Ohlund also played in the 2001 (Bronze), 1998 (Gold) and 1997 (Silver) World Championships, the 2004 World Cup, as well as the 1996 (Silver), 1995 (Bronze) and 1994 (Silver) World Junior Championships.

Ohlund was drafted by Vancouver in the first round, 13th overall, in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft.

VIDEO: The TSN Panel breaks down the Lightning's signing of Ohlund
AUDIO: Ohlund media conference call

Hedman on the Lightning signing Ohlund:
"It's great. He's such a great defenseman and he's played in the league for a lot of years. He's going to bring a lot to the team. He's a great defenseman, one of the best defenseman in the league in my opinion."

"He's a Swede as well, so it'll be good to get to know him."

Hedman on Ohlund helping the Lightning's young defense:
"It's very important, he's been in the league for many years now. He can help young guys like myself to develop my game and develop all the other guys. He knows what it's all about."

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