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Teddy Purcell signs 3-year contract extension with Tampa Bay Lightning

There is something Lightning fans have seen a few times over the past season or two that may or may not register as newsworthy: The Bolts extending the contracts of various players while they remain under contract. It can be seen as a reward for hard work (like in the case of center Nate Thompson); it can be seen as a vote of confidence (as might be seen in the signings of Tom Pyatt and Dana Tyrell). But it can also be looked at as management making the decisions who, among those on the current squad, make up the team’s nucleus.

And Teddy Purcell is a major part of the plan going forward.

Purcell, signed last off-season to a two-year contract (with parties avoiding arbitration by the skin of their teeth), has signed a three-year contract extension with the club. The announcement came this morning.

Teddy, 26, acquired from the Los Angeles Kings at the trade deadline in 2010 for forward Jeff Halpern, has found himself in the mix among the top-6 forwards. He’s split time with both captain Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos the past two seasons and his numbers reflect the potency of the pairings: 51 points (17 goals, 34 assists) in 2010-11, 65 points (24 goals, 41 assists) in 2011-12.

Teddy does get lost out there from time to time. Fans note his slow starts to the season… But he does turn it on in the second half (at least the past two seasons have shown as much). Yet the skill set is there, and that makes him vital to the Lightning offensive attack.

The likes of Purcell, Lecavalier, Stamkos, RW Martin St. Louis and LW Ryan Malone are signed together through 2014-15. That gives the Bolts a three-season window with the current crop of top forwards.

Below the jump, the press release from the club about the signing.

New Deal Locks Forward Up Through 2015-16 Season

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed right wing Teddy Purcell to a three-year contract extension, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today. The contract runs from 2013-14 to 2015-16.

Purcell, 26, skated in 81 games last season with the Lightning, recording 24 goals and 65 points to go along with 16 penalty minutes. He set career highs in goals, assists (41), points, power-play goals (eight), game-winning goals (three) and plus/minus (+9). The 6-foot-2, 201-pound forward ranked first on the Bolts for plus/minus, second for assists, and third for goals and points. Purcell registered a Lightning season-high and career-best, 11-game point streak from February 21 through March 8, tallying seven goals and 11 assists during the stretch. He also represented Canada at the IIHF World Championships, registering a goal and two points in eight games.

A native of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Purcell has appeared in 272 career NHL games with the Lightning and Los Angeles Kings, recording 52 goals and 150 points. He was named the NHL’s Second Star of the Week for the period ending February 26, 2012, notching three goals and seven assists in four games. Purcell also netted his second career hat trick and posted a plus-four rating in the Lightning’s final game last year against the Winnipeg Jets on April 7.

Originally undrafted out of the University of Maine, Purcell was signed by Los Angeles as a free agent on April 27, 2007. He joined the Lightning after being acquired via trade from the Kings in exchange for center Jeff Halpern and a third-round selection at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft on March 3, 2010.

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