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Tampa Bay Lightning

Malone pleads not guilty to DUI, drugs

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Published:   |   Updated: May 2, 2014 at 05:34 AM

— Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Malone has pleaded not guilty to charges of driving under the influence and cocaine possession, according to Hillsborough County Circuit Court documents.

Malone's attorney, Wes Trombley, entered the plea April 22 in Hillsborough County Circuit Court.

Malone was arrested April 12 after a Tampa police officer saw him weaving in a 2014 Chevrolet Suburban on Platt Street, authorities said.

Malone, 34, of Tampa, refused to perform the field sobriety test after he was pulled over by the officer, authorities said. The officer searched Malone and found a small bag of cocaine in his right back pocket, according to the arrest report.

Malone's blood-alcohol level was 0.116 and 0.112, police said. In Florida, the legal limit for driving is below 0.08.

The cocaine possession charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison while the DUI charge carries a six-month maximum sentence.

Since being acquired from Pittsburgh in 2008, Malone has appeared in 342 games with the Lightning, recording 92 goals and 201 points, including three goals and six points in 18 playoff games. But after being a top-line forward for most of his six seasons with Tampa Bay, including the start of this season, Malone saw his role lessened in the second half of this year after he was slowed by a non-displaced fracture in his ankle suffered Nov. 22 which kept him out of the lineup until Jan. 1.

In the final month of the season, Malone was healthy scratch eight times before his arrest and played fewer than 10 minutes eight of the 11 games he did play.

Malone has one more year remaining on a seven-year, $31.5 million contract he signed prior to the 2008-09 season. Malone is scheduled to be paid $2.5 million next season while carrying a salary cap hit of $4.5 million.

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