What’s old is new again in Tampa Bay.
Cory Conacher, who burst onto the scene with the Bolts four years ago as a rookie, has signed back on with the club on a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.
Back in 2013, Conacher parlayed a strong AHL showing — including winning the ’11-12 MVP — into a banner first year with the Lightning, scoring 24 points in 35 games to finish sixth in Calder voting.
That led to one of Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman’s savviest trades — sending Conacher to Ottawa for Ben Bishop — but marked the beginning of a wild and often disappointing ride for Conacher.
He appeared in just 72 games for Ottawa over two years, only to get waived. Buffalo claimed him, but wasn’t impressed enough to offer Conacher a qualifying offer at season’s end.
That made the diminutive forward a UFA. Conacher then proceeded to sign with the Isles, who only played him 15 times before putting him on waivers.
Nobody claimed Conacher that time around, so he was dispatched to AHL Bridgeport, then traded to the Canucks and immediately dispatched to AHL Utica.
Last year, the 26-year-old signed overseas with Bern of the Swiss League, and starred. He had 52 points in 48 games, and helped Team Canada win the 2015 Spengler Cup.
It’s unclear how much playing time Conacher will get with Tampa Bay next season. He does have a significant history with Jon Cooper — Cooper was Conacher’s coach during the aforementioned AHL MVP year, and the two won the Calder Cup together — and the one-way deal will ensure Conacher makes $575,000 regardless if he’s with the Bolts, or the Syracuse Crunch.