After leaving hockey behind nearly three years ago, former Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Paul Ranger will give the game another try.

Ranger, who was granted a personal leave by Tampa Bay in October 2009 but never returned to the team, signed a one-year minor league deal to play for the Toronto Marlies with the American Hockey League.

The Lightning relinquished their rights to Ranger, 27, when he was not issued a qualifying offer prior to the 2010-11 season.

No reason for his absence was revealed, and a message left for Ranger was not answered on Tuesday. Ranger's agent, Joe Resnick, said Ranger will not comment on the situation at this time.

Resnick would not address Ranger's departure from the Lightning or his client's reasons for returning to the ice after three years.

"Paul is getting ready to play for the Marlies,'' said Resnick, who has represented Ranger since the player was 15.

From 2005 through his departure from the Lightning, the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder appeared in 270 games with Tampa Bay, scoring 18 goals and 92 points while averaging more than 21 minutes of ice time.