“We were very pleased to be able to announce last week that we had reached terms with Vinny Prospal to bring him back to Tampa,” Koules and Barrie said. “With Vinny’s new contract signed and in hand we are now able to formalize the announcement today. We expect great things from Vinny in 2008-09 and beyond. He fits uniquely alongside Marty St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier on our MVP line and the new ownership group is thrilled these three forwards will lead us into battle next season.”
Prospal, a 6-foot-2, 198-pound native of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, played in 62 games with the Lightning last season and recorded 29 goals with 57 points. He was traded to Philadelphia on February 25, 2008 in exchange for Alexandre Picard. Through February 23, 2008 Prospal, Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis
were the NHL’s second-highest scoring trio, as they accounted for 80 goals and 202 points. Prospal netted a career-high 33 goals and also had 38 assists in 80 games with Tampa Bay and the Flyers in 2007-08.
After joining Philadelphia he recorded four goals and 14 points in 18 regular-season games. He also helped Philadelphia to the Eastern Conference Finals and recorded three goals with 13 points in 17 playoff games.
The 33-year-old has played in 386 games in five seasons with the Lightning. He ranks sixth on the franchise goal list with 108, fourth in assists with 218 and tied for fifth in power-play goals with 37. He has also played in 22 career Stanley Cup Playoff games with Tampa Bay, recording five goals and eight points. Prospal will enter his 12th NHL season in 2008-09.
This marks Prospal’s third time joining the Lightning. He was originally acquired from Florida in exchange for Ryan Johnson and a sixth-round choice in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft on July 10, 2001. He became a free agent on July 1, 2003 and was then re-acquired from Anaheim in exchange for a second-round pick in 2005 on August 16, 2004.
Selected by Philadelphia in the third round (71st overall) at the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, Prospal played two seasons with MC Budejovice in the Czech Junior League before joining the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League in 1993-94 (named Hershey Rookie of the Year). In four AHL seasons with Hershey and the Philadelphia Phantoms, he recorded 74 goals and 226 points in 310 games, including a 32-goal, 95-point season with Philadelphia in 1996-97. Prospal played in the 1997 AHL All-Star Classic and was named to the AHL’s First All-Star Team that season.Prospal made his NHL debut with the Flyers in 1996-97, recording 15 points in 18 regular-season games and four points in five Stanley Cup Playoff games before injury forced him to miss the remainder of the Playoffs. He was traded by Philadelphia to Ottawa on January 17, 1998, and was sent to Florida by the Senators on January 20, 2001.