TAMPA BAY, Fla. – The Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed defenseman Nolan Pratt to a two-year contract and that they have signed former Victoria defenseman Brandon Elliott to a two-year contract. The Lightning also announced the signing of former Tallahassee and Columbus left wing Mitch Fritz and former Toledo defenseman Timo Helbling.
The Johnstown Chiefs are the ECHL affiliate of Tampa Bay and Springfield of the American Hockey League.
Pratt became the first ECHL player to have his name engraved twice on the Stanley Cup, first earning the honor in 2001 as a member of the Colorado Avalanche and then in 2004 with Tampa Bay. For the fifth consecutive year in 2004, the ECHL is represented on the Stanley Cup Champion with Ruslan Fedotenko, Andre Roy and Pratt as well as radio play-by-play announcer Dave Mishkin and assistant equipment manager Dana Heinze.
In 2004-05, the 29-year-old Pratt played for EV Duisburg, winning the German Division 2 championship. He scored four points (2g-2a) in 10 regular season games and three assists and 10 penalty minutes in 12 playoff games.
In 2004-05, the 24-year-old Fritz had four points (3g-1a) and 179 penalty minutes in 45 games with Springfield of the AHL.
In 2004-05, the 24-year-old Helbling had 11 points (2g-9a) and 118 penalty minutes in 44 games for Kloten in the Swiss league.
Selected in the fifth round (158th overall) by Tampa Bay in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, the 21-year-old Elliott had two assists and 41 penalty minutes in 13 games with Victoria and seven penalty minutes in two games with Springfield of the AHL. The 6-4 and 225-pound defenseman also played for Mississauga in the Ontario Hockey League in 2004-05, finishing with 74 penalty minutes and five points (1g-4a) in 22 games.
In his rookie season in 1995-95, Pratt played for Richmond of the ECHL while also playing in the American Hockey League with Springfield. The Johnstown Chiefs of the ECHL affiliate of the Lightning and Springfield of the American Hockey League.
The 6-3 and 203-pound defenseman played 58 regular season games scoring four points (1g-3a) and ranking third among Lightning defensemen in plus/minus rating with +11. Acquired from Colorado for a sixth-round choice in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Pratt appeared in a career-high 20 playoff games for Tampa Bay.
In his first professional season in 2000-01, the 6-8 and 258-pound Fritz had 79 penalty minutes and eight points (5g-3a) in 42 games with Tallahassee and 20 penalty minutes in five games with Lowell of the American Hockey League. In 2001-02, Fritz had 284 penalty minutes and 10 points (3g-7a) in 45 games with Columbus and 37 penalty minutes in 13 games with Hamilton of the AHL and 34 penalty minutes in 11 games with Saint John of the AHL. In 2002-03, Fritz had 144 penalty minutes and six points (2g-4a) in 33 games with Columbus and 33 penalty minutes and three points (1g-2a) in 13 games with Milwaukee of the AHL.
In his second professional season in 2002-03, the 6-2 and 209-pound Helbling had 11 points and 75 penalty minutes in 35 regular season games and one assist and two penalty minutes in seven Kelly Cup Playoff games for Toledo. Selected in the sixth round (162nd overall) by Nashville in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, Helbling also had 37 penalty minutes and an assist in 23 regular season games for Milwaukee in 2002-03.