A new deal was expected to be consummated. Last month, Bolts GM Steve Yzerman indicated the organization wanted to keep Budaj around after acquiring him at the deadline in the Ben Bishop-to-L.A. trade.
“We were very please with the finish to the season Peter had,” Yzerman said, in an interview with WDAE 620 radio. “We’d very much be interested in bringing him back.”
Budaj, 34, was one of the biggest surprises in the league last year. He was originally signed to be the Kings’ No. 3 netminder, but ascended to the starting job after an injury to Jonathan Quick and ineffective play from Jeff Zatkoff.
It was a noteworthy development for a guy that played exactly one game during the ’15-16 campaign, and was out of the NHL entirely the year prior. Budaj responded by going 30-21-3 this season, with a .915 save percentage and 2.18 GAA — most of it with the Kings.
After joining the Bolts, he started four times and won three games as the club made a frenetic late push for a playoff spot.
In terms of financials, Tampa Bay now has a very affordable one-two punch in goal, with Vasilevskiy entering the first of a three-year deal with a $3.5M cap hit. Collectively, Yzerman is now spending just $4.525 annually on goalies for the next two seasons.