Up until today, many thought that Syracuse Crunch defenseman Luke Witkowski was headed for free agency, but the Tampa Bay Lightning have locked him up for another year with a two-way contract:
LIGHTNING RE-SIGN DEFENSEMAN LUKE WITKOWSKI
TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed defenseman Luke Witkowski to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Witkowski, 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, appeared in four games with the Lightning in 2015-16. He also made his Stanley Cup Playoff debut, skating in two games during the second round against the New York Islanders. Witkowski also played in 70 games with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, recording three goals and 14 points. He ranked third on the team for games played and led all blue-liners for plus/minus with a plus-2 rating.
A native of Holland, Michigan, Witkowski has played in 20 career NHL games, all with the Lightning, during the previous two seasons, registering 19 penalty minutes. He has also amassed 199 career AHL games, all with Syracuse, with seven goals, 34 points and 465 penalty minutes. Witkowski has skated in three career Calder Cup Playoff games, all during the 2015 playoffs, and recorded an assist.
Witkowski was drafted in the sixth round, 160th overall, of the 2008 NHL Draft.
Witkowski has been part of the leadership core in Syracuse, and wore an A for some of last season. Recently, Raw Charge contributor Brandon Curtis tabbed Witkowski as one of the candidates to wear the C in Syracuse should Mike Angelidis decide to test the waters with another organization. Witkowski is well known in the Syracuse community, and has been a fan favorite since arriving three seasons ago.