St. Petersburg Times
Tampa Bay Lightning

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Lightning re-signs wing Willis for a season

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 28, 2002

TAMPA -- The Lightning re-signed restricted free-agent right wing Shane Willis to a one-year contract, general manager Jay Feaster announced Saturday.

The one-way deal is for one year, $616,000, which was the team's qualifying offer and represents a 10 percent raise from last season.

"Shane Willis has a great deal to prove to the organization, which is the reason for only a one-year deal," Feaster said. "We were disappointed in his play after the trade although he did come on strong at the end of the season. He needs to build on that finish from Day 1 of training camp this year because he is going to be in a dogfight with at least three or four other players for the second-line right wing spot."

Willis, 6 feet, 185 pounds, played 21 games with the Lightning after being acquired March5 from Carolina with Chris Dingman for goaltender Kevin Weekes. Willis had four goals and three assists. The Edmonton native was second behind the Lightning's Brad Richards in rookie scoring in 2000-01 with 20 goals and 24 assists in 73 games.

"I'm excited to be back with the team," Willis said. "It's exciting to know that I have an opportunity to play a lot, which makes it fun. I have to contribute like I did the final 10 games or so of last season and I know I can do that."

The Lightning has 10 restricted free agents remaining to be signed, including forwards Dingman, Ben Clymer, Gordie Dwyer, Matt Elich, Ruslan Fedotenko, Vaclav Prospal and Andre Roy and defensemen Dan Boyle, Sascha Goc and Mike Jones.

The team avoided arbitration with Willis and is down to three pending cases: Roy, Prospal and Boyle.

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