Tampa Bay Lightning defender Andrej Sustr bid farewell to the team today via an Instagram post. His message states in part, “Thank you @tblightning for the opportunity I have been given over the past 5 years. But most importantly, Thank you to the people of Tampa and the Bay Area for providing me with such an amazing environment to live in and grow. #grateful” This message indicates that Sustr will not be re-signing with the team, a move that makes at least a little cap space and a contract slot (1.9M in 2017-18) just in case the organization might need it.
Sustr has signed a one-year contract with the Anaheim Ducks.
In this stall on March 29th, 2013 my childhood dream came true. All the lessons learned here, from highs and lows, made me the player and the person who I am today on July 5th, 2018. Thank you @tblightning for the opportunity I have been given over the past 5 years. But most importantly, Thank you to the people of Tampa and the Bay Area for providing me with such an amazing environment to live in and grow. #grateful
Sustr, a right-shot defender, has been with the team since March 2013, signing as a UFA for an initial contract of 1.35M. Since then he has signed conservative short-term contracts as the team’s 6th, and sometimes 7th, defender, at 874,125 in 2014-15, and a two-year contract for 1.450 between 2015 and 2017. In 2017-18, he signed his highest contract of 1.950M.
A strong NCAA player from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, Sustr hit a career high in the 2015-16 season with 4G/17A during the regular season, and 1G/2A in playoffs. He played for his national team on both the World Cup of Hockey and IIHF World Championship teams, scoring one goal in each series. Last season saw a huge drop off in production by Sustr at 2G/5A in 44 games played, and no ice time at all in the playoffs, likely a factor in Steve Yzerman’s decision to move away from Sustr.
Sustr was known by fans as a gentle giant who was always willing to stop and play street hockey, and as fellow NCAA player Alex Killorn’s team BFF. His goal song, “Oops!...I Did It Again” by Britney Spears, is also easily the best in the league.
Clocking in relatively low fighting-related PIM for a defender, Sustr suffered an injury during his only fight of last season that broke his visor and required him to receive 23 stitches. His fight was in defense of a bad hit on teammate Vladislav Namestnikov, earning him a league-wide reputation as a staunch team-first guy.
Best of luck, Sustr, wherever you might land.