Earlier this week, Tyler Johnson signed a seven-year contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning. On Friday, they locked up his longtime running buddy to a new deal as well.
Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman announced the signing of forward Ondrej Palat to a five-year contract worth a $5.3 million AAV. Palat, a restricted free agent like Johnson, now finds himself with the security of a long-term deal. As a result, the Lightning and Palat avoided arbitration, originally set for July 25.
The 26-year-old Czech Republic native is coming off a season in which he tallied 17 goals and 52 points in 75 games. His 35 assists put him in third place on the team in that category. His plus-minus rating of +8 was also third on the Bolts. In addition, he finished fourth on the team in points and his average ice time of 19:07 was the second highest on the team among forwards.
Although long considered the most underappreciated member of the Triplets line, Palat has been no less important. He’s not a dynamic scorer like Nikita Kucherov, nor does he play center like Johnson. However, Palat’s two-way play is tremendous and often overlooked across the league. Palat has surpassed 20 goals only once, in his rookie season of 2013-14 when he was a Calder Trophy finalist. The only time he failed to produce more than 50 points was the 2014-15 season when he missed 22 games due to injury. Palat has also delivered during the playoffs, contributing 14 goals and 29 points in 46 postseason games.
He’s not getting the same term that Johnson got, but the contract is not a cumbersome length. Especially for a skilled, dependable two-way winger who will turn 31 when the deal ends. Per capfriendly.com, the Lightning now hold just over $3.25 million in salary cap space heading into next season.
- No luck of the Irish needed for Bruins as they shut out Bolts March 17, 2018
- Bucs add Curry, Jensen and part ways with Ayers. March 17, 2018
- WrestleMania 34 card, WM 35 location and rumored Main Event, SummerSlam moving?, Jerry Lawler’s son assaulted!? March 17, 2018
- The very unconventional rotation is set for Opening Day for the Rays March 15, 2018
- Bucs 2018 free agency looks to focus on defense. March 14, 2018
- Column: Drafting The Bucs 2018: OT March 14, 2018
- Miller’s hat trick not enough as Ottawa bests Tampa Bay March 13, 2018
- Shane McMahon makes two major Wrestlemania announcements March 13, 2018
- Bucs bring back Barber on one year deal March 13, 2018
- Kurt Angle has his hands full. Cena’s challenge. Ultimate Deletion set! March 13, 2018