On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Lightning announced that they have extended Daniel Walcott for two more seasons after this one — until summer 2023 — on a two-way contract. Walcott’s current contract sees him earning $700,000 at the NHL level and $125,000 at the AHL level. The terms of his new deal have not been announced, but it will presumably have a front-line NHL number of $750,000, the minimum salary for all new signings next season.
Walcott, a left winger, has spent six seasons with the Syracuse Crunch and become a major leader on and off the ice. Unfortunately, his season he’s been sidelined with a lower-body injury that has kept him out since Game 3, and will keep him out of the lineup for a while. Despite his injury, Walcott is still in the fold, mentoring the young players that have littered upstate New York.
While nothing has been announced or even rumored, it wouldn’t surprise me if Walcott inherits the captaincy once at the beginning of his seventh season with the Crunch. This contract is a statement of loyalty and trust between Walcott and the team, and the “C” feels like a natural step to acknowledge and uplift those values. Luke Witkowski is the current captain of the team, and is also currently out with an injury.
This quote is from my article from the game where Walcott was injured. This is how he is, always teaching.
“I liked how vocal Daniel Walcott was with Gabriel Fortier on the penalty kill. You can see him shouting and pointing, teaching the whole time. It’s a real shame Walcott got injured in the second period of the Penguins game, it sounds like he’ll be out for some time.” [Raw Charge]
Before the season, Witkowski also spoke to Walcott’s leadership and support in the locker room as one of the players who passed down the culture and values held by the Crunch.
“That goes back to what Mike Angelidis put in place here years ago and he passed it down to guys like Daniel Walcott. He was one of the best guys in the locker room I’ve ever had."— Syracuse Crunch (@SyracuseCrunch) February 7, 2021
Luke Witkowski on Crunch leadership and how players from two organizations have become one team. pic.twitter.com/Un39r7LkhC
We have re-signed Daniel Walcott to a two-year, two-way contract.https://t.co/X0tXaafYev— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) March 9, 2021
There was also big news in the NHL, Chris Johnston of Sportsnet reporting that ESPN has signed a seven-year deal with the league for the U.S. broadcasting rights starting next season.
The article was very clear in stating that ESPN will be “one of the league’s media partners” with the other half going to another network (Whispers: it’s going to be NBC). In the deal, ESPN is expected to “get the rights to broadcast four Stanley Cup Finals between 2022 and 2028, plus streaming rights for Disney.”
Along with the NHL x Marvel crossover potential, fans were clamoring for the return of Gary Thorne, the legendary broadcaster for ESPN and the NHL from 1992-2004. My generation will recognize him as the play-by-play voice in the NHL video games from 2007-2014. As a Canadian of a younger age, I didn’t recognize the name until someone pointed out that he was the voice in all my NHL 09 season modes. I should dust those off.
And if this can be the end of Pierre McGuire, it won’t have come too soon.
Sources: ESPN is signing a seven-year deal with the NHL as part of the league's new U.S. media rights package.https://t.co/R7VeixXYq7— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) March 9, 2021
The Lightning beat the Detroit Red Wings in the first of their two games against them this week. It took overtime and a comeback to do it, but two points were had. Plus, that extra point Detroit got probably hurt them more than us. #tank [Raw Charge]
“The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Detroit Red Wings in overtime, 4-3, on Blake Coleman’s fifth goal of the season. For the Lightning it was the ninth game in a row that they’ve picked up a point. For the Red Wings, it was their fourth consecutive loss. Brayden Point, Tyler Johnson, and Erik Cernak had the other goals for the Bolts while Adam Erne, Patrik Nemeth, and Dylan Larkin scored for Detroit.”
And in internet news, our very own Matt Esteves was recognized by Lightning Made in their Weekly Hero Spotlight!
Our Weekly Heroes League Hero Spotlight goes to Matt Esteves! Matt #16, plays for the Veterans and has been playing hockey since he was 5 years old. His dad originally got him started in the sport, and he's been in love with hockey ever since. Thank you Matt! #LightningMade pic.twitter.com/nXLJ8djuKE— Lightning Made Hockey (@LightningMade) March 9, 2021
In ECHL news, Solar Bears starter Clint Windsor was named Goalie of the Week in the ECHL.