The Tampa Bay Lightning announced that they have signed Andrej Sustr to a two-year contract extension.
Tampa Bay didn’t release the financial terms of the deal other than to confirm that it’s one-way, but the contract is worth $2.9 million, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun. That’s up from his 2014-15 salary of roughly $874K.
The 24-year-old defenseman participated in his first full NHL campaign last season and registered 13 assists in 72 contests. He also blocked 84 shots and logged 17:42 minutes of ice time per game, including an average of 1:28 shorthanded minutes.
He went on to participate in all 26 of Tampa Bay’s 2015 playoff games during its run to the Stanley Cup Final. He had a goal and an assist and averaged 15:14 minutes per contest.
Tampa Bay now has seven defensemen inked to one-way contracts worth more than $1 million annually, although that includes Mattias Ohlund who hasn’t played since 2011. Ohlund just has one more campaign left on his contract before he’s off the books.
The Lightning didn’t give Mark Barberio a qualifying offer so the 25-year-old blueliner is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent. However, they still need to re-sign RFA Luke Witkowski.
Kari Lehtonen ranked eighth among goaltenders in total minutes last season while Antti Niemi was ninth. If everything goes according to plan, neither of them will be in the top-10 next season and that’s something the 31-year-old Finnish goaltenders are comfortable with.
“My year was disappointing, so I want to fix that, and I’m open to doing anything I can to do that,” Lehtonen said, per the Dallas Morning News. “We are adults and we are older in our careers, so I think we can work through anything that comes up. Goalies have a certain friendship and Antti and I are friends, and I think that helps a great deal.”
He added that he thinks he plays better when rested, so he sees the advantage to his playing time being reduced.
Niemi was obviously aware of the situation before inking a three-year, $13.5 million contract on Monday, so it’s no surprise that he’s open to it. He did point out though that this will provide him with more time to recover between starts and work with goalie coach Jeff Reese.
It should help that the duo is familiar with each other. Lehtonen still remembers splitting ice time with Niemi for a game when they were both 10 years old. Much more recently, they were roommates during the 2014 Winter Olympics.
This will be an expensive experiment for Dallas as the two netminders have a combined $10.4 million annual cap hit for the next three seasons. That means the Stars will be paying more for its goaltending than even the New York Rangers, which carry the current cap hit leader among netminders in Henrik Lundqvist ($8.5 million annually).
Defenseman Patrick Wey worked his way through Boston College and made his NHL debut with the Washington Capitals on Oct. 7, 2013 at the age of 22. After suffering multiple concussions though, he’s decided to hang up his skates, per the Capitals’ official website’s Mike Vogel.
He sustained his first concussion in what proved to be his final NHL game on March 30, 2014 during a fight with Predators forward Rich Clune. The fact that an experienced combatant like Clune agreed to spar with the rookie didn’t sit well with the Capitals.
“They had a little tangle before the fight and they were talking to each other a bit and Weysie seemed to be a willing combatant,” Troy Brouwer said at the time. “But at the same point guys who are known to be fighters, they have to have enough respect to pick their spots to know when guys are able to fight fighters.”
For his part, Clune reached out to Wey after the incident.
Wey was concussed again in Oct. 24 after absorbing a high hit from Jay Rosehill. He wasn’t able to return from that injury.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
As impressive as the 2015 Hockey Hall of Fame class is, there were still some noteworthy snubs. Here’s the argument in favor of Eric Lindros. (Sporting News)
Patrick Kane serenaded a crowd with his rendition of Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’. It’s safe to say that if at any point in his life he was debating between a hockey and singing career, he made the right choice. (CSN Chicago)
Wally Stanowski, who won the Stanley Cup with the Toronto Maple Leafs four times in the 1940s, has passed away at the age of 96. (Toronto Star)
Now with the Buffalo Sabres, Ryan O’Reilly doesn’t think there’s anything he would have done differently when it comes to his past contract negotiations with the Colorado Avalanche. (Denver Post)
Ottawa hasn’t given up on re-signing Erik Condra. (Ottawa Sun)
Max Talbot took to Twitter to shoot down the rumor that he wants to be traded. (CSN New England)
It looked like Mark Arcobello had finally found a home in Arizona, but now it seems that’s not the case.
The 26-year-old forward tied an NHL record last season by scoring at least a goal with four different teams in a single season. He started the campaign with Edmonton before being moved to Nashville for Derek Roy. The Predators waived him just a couple of weeks later and he only lasted roughly a month in Pittsburgh before he was once again exposed to waivers.
Arizona was his final and most productive destination last season as he scored nine goals and 16 points in 27 contests. That wasn’t enough to convince the Coyotes to give him a qualifying offer though and he is consequently poised to become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday.
Although he’s been passed around, when a team has him, he is typically inserted into the lineup. He played in 77 contests last season and averaged 14:48 minutes despite all of the movement. He finished with 17 goals and 31 points, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see him find a new home.
And who knows, maybe his next destination will be the one that sticks.
In a related story, the Coyotes also decided against qualifying former first round pick John Moore after he scored two goals and 11 points in 57 contests between the Coyotes and Rangers last season.