Lightning re-sign Palat to $26.5M, 5-year deal

Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman completed his off-season to-do list by signing “model player” Ondrej Palat to a $26.5 million, five-year deal.

The Lightning and Palat avoided arbitration and settled on the contract Friday. The Czech left winger will count $5.3 million against the salary cap through the 2021-22 season.

The 26-year-old Palat had 17 goals and 35 assists in 75 games last season. He has 74 goals and 144 assists in 307 NHL games and is considered one of the better defensive wingers in hockey.

“His value is probably greater than if you just look at the goals and assists,” Yzerman said by phone. “He’s really a complete player. He plays in all situations for us, and he’s very effective in all situations. Whether we’re on the power play, killing a penalty, 5-on-5, we’re up a goal, down a goal, late in the game it’s tied — he’s going to be in in all those situations, and he plays really hard.”

Palat played all 26 games of the Lightning’s run to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, scoring eight goals and adding eight assists. He was a seventh-round pick, 208th overall, in 2011 and got a significant raise from his previous $3.3 million salary.

Yzerman said his two biggest off-season priorities were re-signing Palat and fellow restricted free-agent Tyler Johnson, who got a $35 million, seven-year deal before an arbitration hearing was necessary.

“Our plan was to get them signed,” Yzerman said. “We were able to get that accomplished and we’re pleased that we could sign them to long-term deals and know that we’re going to have them for quite a while. … They really represent what we want Lightning players to be.”

Five of Tampa Bay’s top-six forwards — Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Johnson, Palat and Alex Killorn — are signed through at least the next two seasons. Despite missing the playoffs last year amid injuries to Stamkos and others, the Lightning have no shortage of offensive talent, with Palat representing a mix of skill and responsible play.

“I don’t want to undersell his ability because he can make plays,” Yzerman said about Palat. “I think he’s a guy that regardless of who he’s playing with, everybody wants to play with him because he does all the little things really, really well.”

The Lightning also cleared cap space and improved their blue line by trading forward Jonathan Drouin to Montreal for young defenceman Mikhail Sergachev, re-signed defenceman Andrej Sustr and forward Yanni Gourde and signed winger Chris Kunitz and defenceman Dan Girardi.

With Kucherov up for another contract in two years, Yzerman is always mindful of the cap and got all these moves done with some room to spare.

“The contracts came in how they did and the changes we made, it worked out that we’re still under the cap,” he said.

Just Posted

Notley pleads with political foes, allies to support Alberta pipeline projects

OTTAWA — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley issued warnings to all political parties… Continue reading

Liberals look to ease affordability concerns with release of housing strategy

OTTAWA — The federal government will unveil its highly anticipated national housing… Continue reading

Accused murderer takes stand

Jason Klaus said he had no idea his family would be killed by Joshua Frank

St. Patrick’s school modernization could include asbestos removal

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools have told staff, students and parents connected… Continue reading

Campaign renews push to make Bighorn Backcountry a wildland provincial park, ATV groups unhappy

A push to provide provincial protection for the Bighorn Backcountry area has… Continue reading

VIDEO: Replay Red Deer: Nov. 19

Watch news highlights from the week of Nov. 13

Creationist will speak at home-schooling convention in Red Deer

Ken Ham has debated Bill Nye on the Earth’s origins

Update: Innisfail girl found

A 15-year-old missing Innisfail girl has been located safe and sound. Police… Continue reading

Cost to fix Phoenix pay system to surpass $540 million, auditor general says

The federal government’s chronic salary struggles will take more time and more… Continue reading

Red Deer Christmas Bureau to help 1,300 children this year

Demand is high, but Red Deer always provides

CP Holiday train makes stops in Central Alberta

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Kittens rescued after allegedly being tossed from vehicle

Couple finds abandoned kittens new home through Facebook

VIDEO: ‘Party bus’ goes up in flames in Vancouver

Fire crews responded to the late night blaze

Chicken crosses B.C. road, stops traffic

Rooster makes early morning commuters wait in Maple Ridge

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month