Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning's Ondrej Palat happy with new deal, new talent

Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18) works to play the puck against the Winnipeg Jets during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Tuesday evening (01/03/17).

DIRK SHADD | Times

Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18) works to play the puck against the Winnipeg Jets during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Tuesday evening (01/03/17).

TAMPA — Lightning forward Ondrej Palat, he of the newly signed five-year, $26.5 million deal, is back home in his native Czech Republic participating in his summer workout routine and eager for the start of training camp.

Seems the Lightning players are not too keen on this long offseason, made possible because they failed to qualify for the postseason for the first time in three years.

"I think guys will be rested," Palat said in a phone interview Wednesday.

And, he added, ready.

"It was an experience for us last year because we came from two good (playoff) runs and we thought we were going to make the playoffs just like that, and it didn't happen," he said. "In the NHL we have to play good from the beginning of the season, and we have to be good all season long."

NEW DEAL: Lightning re-signs Ondrej Palat to five-year, $26.5M deal.

Toward that end, general manager Steve Yzerman has retooled the roster this offseason, trading forward Jonathan Drouin, the third overall pick in the 2013 draft, to Montreal for top defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev, then adding forward Chris Kunitz and defenseman Dan Girardi in free agency.

Kunitz, who has won four Stanley Cups (one with Anaheim, three with Pittsburgh), and Girardi, a former Ranger, have played in a combined 283 postseason games. Kunitz, fresh off back-to-back Stanley Cup wins with the Penguins, has played in 161 of them.

"We bring in a puck-moving defenseman. He's a young one. We're going to give him a chance to play," Yzerman said of Sergachev, 19.

As for Kunitz and Girardi, Yzerman added veterans who will make the Lightning a little tougher and a little more experienced.

PLENTY FORMIDABLE: New Lightning forward Chris Kunitz.

"I feel pretty good about the team," Palat said. "I like all the new guys. They're in the league for a while. Great veteran guys, experienced guys. That's what you need to have on your team if you want to win a Cup."

Palat's new deal includes a no-trade clause for the first four years and a partial no-trade clause for the final year. It's not as long as the deal given this month to forward Tyler Johnson (seven years), but it is worth more average money per year ($5.3 million, compared to Johnson's $5 million).

TOUGH COMPETITOR: Expect new Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi to bring 'abrasiveness'.

Both players were restricted free agents who filed for arbitration. Yzerman said both were interested in different contracts in negotiations than began during last season.

Palat said he was never worried about getting a deal done. He knew his agent and the Lightning would reach an agreement before the sides went to arbitration, where players can receive only one-year deals.

"I feel pretty good," Palat said. "I think both sides are happy we have a deal now. I have a clear mind now, and I can focus on playing my game and helping the team win."

Lightning's Ondrej Palat happy with new deal, new talent 07/20/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 8:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Even frustrated Bucs fans hold out hope

    Blogs

    Many fans wrote back when I threw out an all-points the other day, asking if Bucs fans are perpetually in a state of expecting the worst.

  2. Bucs snapper Garrison Sanborn looking forward to return to Bills

    Bucs

    Throughout his eight seasons with the Bills, whenever former players would come to Buffalo for a game, Garrison Sanborn remembers the place to take them for a reunion dinner was a popular Italian …

    Garrison Sanborn enjoyed just one winning season in eight years in Buffalo. [AP photo]
  3. J.T. Brown said first protest already sparked action plan

    Blogs

    Lightning wing J.T. Brown said part of the reason he will no longer raise his fist during the national anthem is because his first silent protest has already sparked an action plan.

    J.T. Brown stressed that he got a lot of support from the Lightning, from ownership on down to help put him in situations to help.
  4. Bucs' Mike Evans, Bills cornerback E.J. Gaines could face off again

    Bucs

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans has gone up against four Pro Bowl cornerbacks in five games, and on Sunday he could be lining up against a corner he has a history with in Buffalo's E.J. Gaines.

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans (13) makes a touchdown catch over Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28)  Sunday  in Glendale, Ariz. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: The importance of Kwon Alexander's return

    Bucs

    Greg Auman talks the importance of Kwon Alexander's return Sunday in Buffalo in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Bucs middle linebacker Kwon Alexander, pictured during training camp in July at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]