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Lightning centre Ryan Craig given US$850,000 arbitration award

Craig, who earned $495,000 last year, had asked for $1.2 million while the Lightning had countered with a figure of $650,000. The hearing was held Friday in Toronto.

"We appreciate the fact that the arbitrator weighed all the evidence presented and awarded what we believe is a very reasonable contract for this player," Lightning GM Jay Feaster said in a statement. "The good news is Ryan will now be under contract for the 2007-'08 season and the amount of the award will not force our hand in terms of having to move the player."

Craig, 25, of Abbotsford, B.C., had 14 goals and 13 assists in 72 games last season with Tampa Bay.

The six-foot-two, 220-pound forward was Tampa Bay's eighth choice, 255th overall, in the 2002 NHL entry draft. Craig had 15 goals and 13 assists in 2005-'06 as a rookie.

Tampa Bay now has all of its restricted free agents under contract for the upcoming season as Craig was the only player to file for arbitration this summer.



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