FORMER 1ST-ROUND DRAFT CHOICE RETURNS TO TAMPA BAY
The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed left wing Nikita Alexeev to a one-year contract, Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced today.
A 6-foot-5, 225-pound native of Murmansk, Russia, Alexeev, 24, spent the 2005-06 season with Omsk of the Russian Elite League, where he recorded six goals and nine points in 40 games. The Lightning's first-round selection, eighth overall, in the 2000 Entry Draft, the speedy winger appeared in 37 games with Tampa Bay in 2002-03, recording four goals and two assists. He played in all 11 Stanley Cup Playoff games that season, scoring one goal.
"Following the 2002-03 season, and particularly the playoffs, we fully expected Nikita Alexeev to earn a permanent roster spot with the Lightning," Feaster said. "Unfortunately, that did not happen and ultimately, Nikita elected to return to Russia. He has now decided he wants to return to the NHL and compete for a spot on our roster. We have openings throughout our forward lines, and it is up to Nikita not only to grab one of those spots but to demonstrate that he can be a major two-way contributor to our hockey club. We look forward to seeing him in camp this year."
Alexeev made his Lightning debut in 2001-02, recording four goals and four assists in 44 games while splitting time with the Lightning and Springfield of the AHL. Shoulder surgery limited Alexeev to 14 games with Hershey of the AHL in 2003-04, and he returned to play in 72 games (13 goals, nine assists) with Springfield in 2004-05.