The Tampa Bay Lighting have re-signed defenseman Jake Dotchin. His contract is for two years. It is a one-way contract both years worth an AAV of $812,500.
Dotchin’s accelerated development was one of the nice surprises that came about thanks to the Lightning’s injury bug last season. Recalled to Tampa from Syracuse for the first time on January 21st, Dotchin was expected to be with the Lighting for just a short time while they examined their options. However, his grit and skill impressed the organization so much that he ended up playing for the Lightning for the remainder of their regular season. He eventually worked his way up to the first pairing alongside Victor Hedman.
Dotchin registered his first NHL point, an assist, on January 31st. He played a total of 35 games in the NHL last season, netting 11 assists and earning 35 penalty minutes. He finished the season at a +10.
Before he was recalled to the Lightning, Dotchin had been an anchor on the Crunch’s blue line, pitching in with Slater Koekkoek and Matt Taormina. He totaled 67 regular season games with the Crunch last season, scoring 1 goal and earning 10 assists. He finished with a +10 and 105 penalty minutes. Dotchin has played in 157 career AHL contests since 2014, recording 11 goals and 44 points. His totals include six power-play goals.
Dotchin was returned to Syracuse from the Lightning for the Calder Cup playoffs. He played in 19 of the Crunch’s 22 games on their way to the finals, registering 6 assists.
One of the things Dotchin needs to continue to work on is keeping his emotions in check and his penalties to a minimum. Dotchin is now well-known around the NHL for his spirited, physical game. He was just recently suspended for three games during the AHL playoffs for a questionable hit on Frederik Gauthier. He had some discipline issues while in the NHL, as well. Dotchin is too talented of a player to risk developing that kind of reputation any more than he already has, so working on controlling his emotions this season is a must.
As with Slater Koekkoek, the signing of defenseman Dan Girardi might complicate Dotchin’s role on the team. Dotchin is now waiver-eligible, and most feel he would not make it through without being picked up. Although Dotchin’s place with the Lightning is more secure than Koekkoek’s, it still remains to be seen how Tampa will handle their logjam at D.