TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed unrestricted free agent right wing Michel Ouellet (wuh-LEHT) to a two-year deal, Executive Vice President & General Manager Jay Feaster announced.
Ouellet, 25, appeared in 73 games for Pittsburgh in 2006-07, recording 19 goals, 48 points and 30 penalty minutes in only his second NHL season. The 6-foot, 201-pound native of Rimouski, Quebec ranked fourth on the Penguins with 11 power-play goals and averaged 13:19 in ice time.
"Michel Ouellet is a goal scorer and has been throughout every level of his career," Feaster said. "He is extremely effective on the power play and he has a knack for burying his chances in the offensive zone. We feel his game is best suited to playing in a top-two line role and he will get that opportunity in Tampa. The fact he played junior hockey with Brad Richards in Rimouski is a real plus, as we believe there will be good chemistry between the two, and he knows how to win. For all of these reasons we feel strongly that Michel is the right fit for our hockey team."
Originally drafted by the Penguins in the fourth round, 124th overall, at the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, Ouellet made his NHL debut with Pittsburgh in 2005-06 and recorded 16 goals and 32 points in 50 games. He played parts of four seasons for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League prior to joining the Penguins, recording 71 goals and 144 points in 182 games. In his first full AHL season in 2003-04, Ouellet finished first among rookies with 30 goals and fifth among first-year players with 49 points to lead his team in both categories.
Ouellet played four seasons for his hometown Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, two of those seasons (1998-99, 1999-00) as a teammate of Lightning center Brad Richards. In 224 career games with the Oceanic, Ouellet tallied 125 goals and 299 points.