Lawton explains his role in email to GMs and agents Staff

6/25/2009 5:22:45 PM

The ongoing saga surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning took another turn on Thursday afternoon, as all NHL general managers and player agents received a short email message from general manager Brian Lawton establishing his role with the club going forward.

"Please be advised that in order to avoid any confusion over the next couple of weeks, as GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning Organization I am the only person authorized to speak on behalf of the team with regard to player transactions," the email read.

"No other person is authorized to negotiate player transactions. Any questions, feel free to call."

The statement comes just two days after Lightning co-owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in an effort bid to resolve their differences. It was re-affirmed in the meeting that Lawton is making hockey decisions for the club and for any transactions that would require ownership approval, he is obliged to get approval from both Koules and Barrie.

Koules reportedly prefers to keep the team at the low end of the salary scale, which suggests the club could trade captain Vincent Lecavalier and his 11-year, $85 million contract that kicks in next Wednesday. Barrie is said to want a higher pay scale, which could mean keeping Lecavalier in the lineup.

There has also been speculation that the club may move their second overall pick in Friday's NHL draft, depending on whether the New York Islanders take John Tavares or Victor Hedman.