LIGHTNING RE-SIGN DEFENSEMAN SHANE O'BRIEN
O’Brien, a 6-foot-2, 228-pound native of Port Hope, Ontario, made his NHL debut last season, playing in 80 games with the Lightning and the Anaheim Ducks, scoring two goals and adding 14 assists. O’Brien, 23, also tallied two game-winning goals and one power-play goal. He ranked seventh in the NHL among rookie defensemen with 16 points and tied for first with two game-winning goals. His 176 penalty minutes also ranked him fourth in the NHL.
"Shane O'Brien has already demonstrated to us, in a very short period of time, that he is going to be a perfect fit in our system,” Feaster said. “He skates incredibly well, gets the puck to our forwards in transition, and he has great grit. He is everything we want in a hockey player and we are extremely pleased to have him signed for the next two years. We expect great things from Shane."
The defenseman was acquired from Anaheim on February 24, 2007. After joining the Lightning, O’Brien played in 18 games and recorded two assists. His time on ice increased following the trade from 14:03 with the Ducks to 18:07 with Tampa Bay. O’Brien played in six Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Lightning in 2007 and averaged 17:11 minutes played per game.
He spent the 2005-06 season with the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League and led all defensemen in playoff scoring with six goals and 22 points, while also leading the league in penalty minutes in the post-season with 81. O’Brien played in 77 regular season games and scored eight goals while adding 33 assists, leading all Pirate defensemen in points and ranking third on the team in assists. He ranked sixth in the AHL in penalty minutes and was tied for 14th for points among defensemen.
During three seasons in the AHL, he collected 15 goals and 76 points with 769 penalty minutes in 214 regular season games. While playing in the AHL he increased his point production each year, going from 10 his rookie season to 41 in 205-06. He also played in 43 Calder Cup Playoff contests and recorded seven goals and 28 points with 158 PIM.
O’Brien played the majority of his junior career with Kingston of the Ontario Hockey League before finishing the second half of the 2002-03 season with Toronto. In three seasons in the OHL he played in 190 regular season games and scored 28 goals while recording 89 points. He also appeared in 24 playoff games and scored four goals with 11 assists.
He was selected by Anaheim in the eighth round, 250th overall, at the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.