Feb 27, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT
Not a great week for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Just days after reports of Martin St. Louis’ trade demands broke, the Bolts learned that Swiss Olympian Reto Suri won’t be joining the team next year. Suri announced his decision through EV Zug, his club team in the Swiss National League.
“The decision I was not easy, because the interest of Tampa was there,” Suri said in a translated statement. “But after the Olympics, I have come to the conclusion that it is too early for a change in the NHL.
“Now I am convinced that this decision is correct and look forward to the future with [Zug].”
Suri, described as a skilled forward with “speed to burn,” was set to join the Bolts last offseason before the proposed deal was shot down by the Swiss Federation because it lacked a transfer agreement with the NHL.
Undeterred, Tampa sent assistant GM Julien BriesBois to scout Suri last month and appear to be keeping close tabs on the situation at hand.
“We’re not able to negotiate or talk to him about a contract at this time,” Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “His agent is working with the club to see what they can do.
“Whatever he’s able to work out with his Swiss club, it’s out of our hands. There’s nothing we can do at this time.”
According to the Times, Suri was rumored to be exploring a buyout of his contract.
The 24-year-old has been very good for Zug over the last two years, scoring 14 goals and 25 points in 48 regular-season last season, and 35 points through 43 games this year.
Suri first rose to prominence during the 2013 World Hockey Championships, where he was a key figure on a Swiss team that captured silver, its first-ever medal at the Worlds in 60 years of competition. He also tied for the team lead in goals (five) with Wild forward Nino Neiderreiter, and was a hero in the team’s 3-2 upset victory over Canada in the round-robin stage, scoring twice in a shootout on Coyotes goalie Mike Smith.
Suri then participated for Switzerland at the ’14 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
In a recent interview with Swiss news outlet RTS, he said eventually expects to sign with Tampa Bay.
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