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Joe Smith, Times Staff Writer

Joe Smith

Joe Smith became the Tampa Bay Lightning beat writer for the Tampa Bay Times in 2014. He spent the previous six years splitting time covering the Rays, Bucs and Lightning He joined the Times in 2006 after spending two years with the Modesto Bee in California, where he did everything from covering the Single-A Modesto Nuts minor league baseball team and high school football to tackling first-person stories on whitewater rafting and adventure racing. Smith grew up in the Detroit suburbs and attended the University of Michigan, where he covered the football, basketball and hockey teams for the Michigan Daily. He freelanced for the Associated Press and Detroit Free Press before securing internships at Crain's Detroit Business and the Raleigh News & Observer. An avid runner, Smith loves traveling, bowling and singing karaoke.

Phone: (813) 310 9024

Email: joesmith@tampabay.com

Blogs:

Lightning Strikes

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  1. Lightning journal: Russian forwards top Day 2 draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — After taking a big, right-shot defenseman in the first round, the Lightning's second day of the draft was headlined by a few skilled Russian forwards.

    Tampa Bay selected 6-foot-1 wing Alexander Volkov, 19, in the second round (No. 48 overall), with hopes to sign him and send him to AHL Syracuse next season. In the third round, the Lightning was thrilled to have C Alexey Lipanov, 17, fall to them at No. 76....

  2. Lightning opens day two of draft by taking Russian forwards

    Blog

    After taking a big, right-shot defenseman in the first round, the Lightning's second day of the NHL Draft was headlined by a couple skilled Russian forwards.

    Tampa Bay selected 6-foot-1 winger Alexander Volkov in the second round (No. 48), with hopes to sign him and send him to AHL Syracuse next season. In the third round, the Lightning was thrilled to have center Alexei Lipanov fell to them at No. 76....

  3. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Adam, a 20-year NHL veteran, even took Cal into the room for Colorado's Stanley Cup celebration in 2001. Cal was 2. "I wish I could remember more," Cal said, smiling.

    But Friday, the two Footes shared an unforgettable moment. Cal, a defenseman like his dad, got picked No. 14 overall by the Lightning in the first round of the draft. The father and son embraced in the United Center stands, Adam beaming with pride. ...

    Cal Foote, left, is a two-way defenseman who had 57 points for Kelowna in the junior Western League last season. “I like to play defense … but I like to add to the offense,” he says.
  4. Lightning journal: Plans set for 25th anniversary season

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season Friday, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    That event will be held Nov. 4 before a game against the Blue Jackets, coached by John Tortorella, the coach of the Cup team. That means Marty St. Louis, Vinny Lecavalier and Brad Richards will likely be reunited again....

    John Tortorella, in Tampa in 2014 for the 10-year Stanley Cup win party, will return next season for the team’s anniversary event.
  5. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote

    Blog

    While the Lightning is still trying to bolster its blueline via trade, it selected a big, right shot defenseman Cal Foote at No. 14 overall Friday in the NHL Draft.

    Foote, 18, is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote. He has size and physicality like his dad, but Cal also can score, with 57 points in 71 games with Keowna (WHL)....

    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  6. Lightning unveils road jersey, events for 25th anniversary season

    Blog

    The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    That event will be held Nov. 4 before a game against the Blue Jackets, coached by former Lightning coach John Tortorella. That means Marty St. Louis, Vinny Lecavalier and Brad Richards will likely be reunited again....

    The Lightning's 2017-18 road jersey
  7. Could Lightning deal for a defenseman today?

    Blog

    Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has been trying to further bolster his blueline, and he may have a chance to acquire one by tonight's first round of the NHL Draft.

    Several teams are shopping defensemen, most notably the Wild, who appear close on a deal with left-shot defenseman Marco Scandella, per Minneapolis Star Tribune. The Wild has been asking for a first round pick in any package; Tampa Bay picks No. 14 tonight....

    The Lightning is reportedly in on Travis Hamonic (Islanders), though New York is rumored to be asking for two-first round picks.
  8. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    If you're a Lightning fan, don't get too attached to the pick.

    Yzerman has traded three of the seven players he has drafted in the first round since becoming GM in 2010, including two-top 10 selections. The latest was wing Jonathan Drouin, the third overall pick in 2013, who was sent to Montreal in a blockbuster deal last week. Forward Brett Connolly (sixth, 2010) and defenseman Anthony DeAngelo (19th, 2014) are the others who were shipped away. ...

    Head shot of Times staffer Joe Smith. Joe Smith is the Tampa Bay Lightning beat writer for the sports department. Staffer mug shot taken in Times studio on Tuesday (06/20/17).
  9. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    And GM Steve Yzerman said he has a better feel for what might be available via trade, with many defensemen expected to move at this weekend's amateur draft.

    But Yzerman has another item on his summer wish list: a top-nine wing....

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101
  10. Peter Budaj loves 'vibe' with Lightning

    Blog

    Two years ago, nobody was willing to give Peter Budaj a shot, the veteran goalie wondering if he'd ever play in the NHL again.

    That's what made Thursday so gratifying for Budaj, 34, who signed a two-year extension with the Lightning, worth $1.025 million per year. The Times reported the agreement Tuesday, the deal wasn't announced until Thursday's roster freze was over.

    "I know I can play and I never doubted myself," Budaj told the Times Thursday. "It was tough but I always believed I could do it."...

    Peter Budaj signed a two-year extension with the Lightning, worth $1.025 million per year.
  11. Tampa Bay Lightning 2017-18 schedule: Stanley Cup champion Penguins, expansion Golden Knights among the coming attractions

    Lightning Strikes

    The Lightning's season schedule was released Thursday afternoon, and there are plenty of must-see matchups coming to Amalie Arena. Here are the home games with the most intriguing storylines:

    The champs (Oct. 12, Oct. 21)

    The Penguins make two trips to Tampa in the first nine games. The Lightning travels to play Sidney Crosby & Co. Nov. 25 for the third and final meeting.

    Vegas, baby (Jan. 18)...

    The two-time defending champion Penguins make two early trips to Tampa. [AP photo]
  12. With trade freeze over, Lightning could be active

    Blog

    With the dust settling on the expansion draft saga, the Lightning can now focus on addressing some of its needs.

    And with around $23 million in cap space for next season, GM Steve Yzerman can be active and aggressive on the trade and free agent market. There are expected to be many league-wide deals this weekend at the NHL Draft in Chicago, now that the roster freeze was lifted at 8 a.m....

    The Lightning could target a veteran defenseman on the market, such as MInnesota's Matt Dumba.
  13. Lightning's Victor Hedman third in Norris Trophy voting

    Lightning Strikes

    Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman knew he was a long shot to win the Norris Trophy, given to the league's top defenseman, at Wednesday's NHL awards show.

    But he was honored to be a finalist, finishing third in the voting behind first-time winner Brent Burns of the Sharks and Erik Karlsson of the Senators. Burns had 96 first-place votes, Karlsson 63 and Hedman three.

    Burns had a monster offensive season with 29 goals and 75 points, as did two-time winner Karlsson (17 goals, 71 points). Hedman had a career season with 72 points (16 goals) in 79 games. He was the only one of the finalists whose team didn't make the playoffs. ...

    LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 21:  Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning attends the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena on June 21, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) 700065353
  14. Lightning loses Jason Garrison to Vegas in expansion draft

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The Vegas Golden Knights made out very well in Wednesday's prime-time expansion draft.

    But the Lightning didn't do too badly, either.

    By making a side deal with Vegas, Tampa Bay was able to hold on to young defensemen Jake Dotchin and Slater Koekkoek, who weren't on its draft protection list and who are expected to compete for roster spots in training camp. And the Lightning was able to free up $4.6 million in cap space for next season, with Vegas agreeing to make veteran defenseman Jason Garrison its selection from Tampa Bay. ...

    Head shot of Times staffer Joe Smith. Joe Smith is the Tampa Bay Lightning beat writer for the sports department. Staffer mug shot taken in Times studio on Tuesday (06/20/17).
  15. Lightning loses Jason Garrison in expansion draft

    Blog

    The Lightning was able to hold onto its unprotected young defensemen Jake Dotchin and Slater Koekkoek in Wednesday's expansion draft.

    Tampa Bay was also able to clear $4.6 million in cap space for next season, thanks to Vegas making defenseman Jason Garrison its selection.

    But it came at a cost.

    Tampa Bay shipped the rights to Russian wing prospect Nikita Gusev to Vegas, along with a second round pick this season and a fourth round pick in 2018. Gusev, a seventh-rounder in 2012, has one more year left on his deal in the KHL and has no immediate plans to play in the NHL, per agent Dan Milstein....

    The Lightning was able to clear $4.6 million in cap space for next season, thanks to Vegas making defenseman Jason Garrison its selection.