TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Cody Kunyk to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Kunyk, 24, made his NHL debut with the Lightning on April 13 at Washington, logging 10:12 in ice time. He was signed by Tampa Bay as an undrafted free agent on March 20, 2014.
The Sherwood Park, Alberta native skated in 37 games for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks last season, posting 22 goals and 43 points to go along with 22 penalty minutes and a plus-13 rating. The 5-foot-11, 197-pound forward led the Nanooks for goals, points, power-play goals (six) and shorthanded goals (two). Kunyk was named the WCHA's Player of the Year and to the First Team All-WCHA team. He also led the WCHA for scoring during the 2013-14 season.
Kunyk skated in 148 games over four seasons at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, amassing 60 goals and 133 points. He set career highs his senior year for goals, assists (21) and points. Kunyk became the 30th Nanook in program history to join the 100-point club with a goal on November 22, 2013.
Kunyk finished up a 4-year NCAA career with the University of Alaska-Fairbanks this past year. He was near a point-per-game there in 148 NCAA games:
He'll likely slot in somewhere on the Syracuse Crunch's center depth chart as he gets his first taste of the long grind of a professional hockey season. The NCAA is great for slow burn, long-term development but there can be a bit of an adjustment period for young players going from playing fewer than 40 games a year to playing almost double that number, including more back-to-back situations.
Cody Kunyk gets a 1-year, 2-way deal from #TBLightning. He's projected to start the year in Syracuse, presumedly as 2nd line center.— Bolt Prospects (@BoltProspects) July 8, 2014
The two-way contract would also seem to indicate a healthy number of games in the AHL is the plan for Kunyk moving forward, who may eventually become an in-house Tom Pyatt replacement with a little bit more skill and scoring ability.