Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat are finalists for the 2014 Calder Award, the fancy title for the NHL's rookie of the year award. They both ended the season and had their entry-level contracts expire. And now, about 20 days apart, they're both inked with the Tampa Bay Lightning through the 2016-17 season.
The club announced this morning that Palat, 23, signed a new 3 year contract with the club. He was to be a restricted free agent on July 1st. While financial terms are never disclosed in team releases, it's believed Palat's deal is worth $10 million or so over the life of the contract.
[Note by John Fontana, 06/09/14 2:11 PM EDT ] Erik Erlendsson's report in the Tampa Tribune this afternoon confirmsthe financial terms. Fresh quotes and all the goodies Erik can provide is within the link, so please click through.
Ondrej, who is noted for his responsible two-way play, didn't just have an outstanding rookie season; it was one of the best of his career (dating back to juniors). Spending time in the top-six with the likes of Valtteri Filppula, Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos, Palat scored 23 goals and 36 assists in 81 games during the regular season with the Lightning, and notched another 2 goals and an assist in 3 games in the playoffs as well.
Not a bad opening season in the NHL for a former 7th round draft pick, huh?
Palat's best season of his career was with Drummondville of the QMJHL in 2010-11. He scored 39 goals and 57 assists that season, and the best he had done in the AHL was 13 goals and 39 assists in 56 games with the Syracuse Crunch in 2012-13.
Remaining restricted free agents include Mark Barberio, J.T. Brown, Brett Connolly, Cody Funyk, Alex Killorn, Anders Lindback, Richard Panik and Andrej Sustr.
The Raw Charge Lined-Up Update for 2014 has been updated accordingly.