According to multiple reports, the Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Danick Martel to a two-way contract for the 2019-2020 season. Martel was one of seven restricted free agents still needing contracts. With him signed, Adam Erne, Cedric Paquette, Brayden Point, Ben Thomas, Dominik Masin, and Carter Verhaeghe are the remaining names on General Manager Julien BriseBois’ summer to-do list.
AHL reporter Tony Androckitis first announced the signing on Twitter. Joe Smith of The Athletic then followed up the with the specifics.
It’s a one-year, two way deal for #tblightning RFA Danick Martel for $700,000. Good value and flexibility on two way. A reason they kept him on roster all year. https://t.co/1unfB5Krbo https://t.co/lIb4YT1F4d— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) July 4, 2019
Martel actually takes a slight pay cut this year at the NHL level going from $715,000 to the league minimum of $700,00. But if the Lightning plan for him to spend time in the AHL, it’s possible they could have given him a raise on his minor league salary to help compensate for the change in NHL dollars.
The Lightning claimed Martel off of waivers at the start of last season in a somewhat surprising move for a team with so much forward depth. The team kept him on the roster in Tampa all season likely at least in part because placing him back on waivers would have allowed the Flyers, Martel’s original team, to claim him and send him directly to the AHL.
Prior to last season, Martel had been primarily an AHL player and one of the leaders of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. In the 2017-2018 season, he posted 25 goals and 40 points in 59 games. Last season, Martel played just thirteen total games. In nine NHL games, he scored two points. In a four game conditioning stint in Syracuse, he scored one point.
Last year was much different for Martel in that he spent much of the season in the press box. Heading into this season, it will be interesting to see how the team plans to use him. With even more depth at forward arriving this season, the team could be hoping he’ll pass through waivers to go be a top six forward in Syracuse. But if they think he won’t clear, he could reprise his role as the 13th or 14th forward on the NHL roster this season.
Traditionally, the Lightning front office has a habit of resolving the RFA contracts of depth players in bunches so it wouldn’t be surprising to get more news later today or through the long weekend. Paquette, Erne, Thomas, Masin, and Verhaeghe should all be standard negotiations so they’ll like wrap up over the next week or so. The Brayden Point negotiation is obviously a different situation and that could drag on long into the summer.
But for now, the front office can cross one name off its list as it ensures Danick Martel will return this fall to compete for a spot on the fourth line in Tampa.