By KEVIN KELLY
© St. Petersburg Times, published July 13, 2001
Four months after being traded to Dallas for the playoff run, veteran defenseman Grant Ledyard will return as expected to the Lightning next season.
The NHLPA's Web site listed the 39-year-old as signing a one-year contract Thursday evening, and general manager Rick Dudley said an announcement regarding Ledyard's signing should be expected today.
"Grant Ledyard has been someone since the start of the summer that we've wanted to sign," Dudley said. "We've talked about it enough. He wants to come back to Tampa and we want him back. He was a very important guy for us last year."
Ledyard, who will make $370,000 next season according to the NHLPA, was on vacation and could not be reached for comment.
He played in 14 games for Tampa Bay last season after signing Feb. 1 as a free agent and had two goals, two assists and was minus-5 before being shipped to the Stars. With Dallas, he was plus-3 with one assist and four penalty minutes in eight games.
Dudley loves Ledyard's work ethic and his ability to mentor younger players, such as 20-year-old defenseman Kristian Kudroc.
And because of the uncertain status regarding Petr Svoboda, who is dealing with symptoms of post-concussion syndrome, Tampa Bay needed a seasoned veteran in the locker room.
"He showed our younger players what it means to be a pro," Dudley said. "He played pretty well for us. And he's such a gifted athlete that even at his age, he's still a pretty qualified guy. He can carry the puck and he can skate and he can move the puck."
The Lightning also signed three draft choices to three-year rookie contracts: goaltenders Michal Lanicek (fifth round in 1999) and Alexander Polukeyev (eighth round, 2000) and defenseman Marek Priechodsky (seventh round, 2000).
BLUES: All-Star left wing Keith Tkachuk, acquired in a trade with the Coyotes, signed a one-year, $8.3-million qualifying offer.
CAPITALS: The Jaromir Jagr trade gave Washington a much better chance of winning its first Stanley Cup, according to Las Vegas oddsmakers.
One day after the Capitals obtained the five-time league scoring leader from the Penguins in a five-player trade, sports books slashed the odds of them winning the Cup.
At Regent Race & Sports Book, the Capitals are listed at 12-1, tied for seventh favorite. They were 25-1 before the trade, said Jeff Sherman, its sports supervisor.
At the Imperial Palace, the Capitals went from 25-1 to 15-1, said Rich Dressler, its race and sports supervisor. ... Ticket prices will increase between 10 to 15 percent.
MAPLE LEAFS: Defenseman Karel Pilar, the team's second-round pick, signed a three-year contract.
MIGHTY DUCKS: Left wing Timo Parssinen, the team's fourth-round draft pick, agreed to terms.
OILERS: Free-agent Defenseman Steve Staios signed a multiyear deal.
RED WINGS: Center Pavel Datsyuk agreed to a two-year contract.
-- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.