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Lightning agree to two-year deal with Purcell



Update 2:01 p.m The Lightning's deal with wing Teddy Purcell literally went down to the wire, as general manager Steve Yzerman said they came to an agreement minutes before the scheduled 9 a.m. arbitration hearing.

Yzerman had said the two sides were pretty close, and he had a long conversation with Purcell's agent, Kent Hughes, Tuesday night. The two, along with Purcell, talked again Wednesday morning in the Toronto hotel where the hearing was taking place before finishing it off. With all the uncertainty and potential risk (on both sides) that comes with going to an arbitrator, Yzerman was pleased he could get a deal done and avoid that process.

The two-year deal is worth about $4.7 million (2.35 million in the first year, $2.37 in the second).

"I think both sides were happy with the compromise," Yzerman said.

Purcell, 25, who made $750,000 last year, is coming off a breakout season, when he racked up career highs of 17 goals, 34 assists and 51 points in 81 games. He also had a very good postseason, with 17 points in 18 playoff games. He had talked about how much he learned and developed as a player, understanding the kind of compete level he needed to bring each night to play.

And Yzerman expects Purcell to get even better, as he steps into an important role among the top-six forwards.

"I believe he already has an excellent hockey sense, very good skills and very good vision on the ice," Yzerman said. "It was his first full year in the NHL, still a relatively young guy, improved his power and in turn I think the experience he had last year gives him more confidence that, if you train hard and get more power you can see the benefits of that on the ice. You become more well-rounded. I think he averaged around 14 minutes a game, I'd like to see him be used in more situations. He has to go out and try to prove to the coaches, 'I'm ready for more responsibility, I'm ready for more ice time and I can do it on a regular basis.'"

Developing: The Lightning have agreed to a two-year deal with wing Teddy Purcell, avoiding an arbitration hearing. Terms have yet to be offically disclosed, but it's believed to be $2.35 million in first year, and $2.37 million in 2012-13.

Purcell, who had a breakout season last year, had an arbitration hearing set for 9 a.m. this morning in Toronto. General manager Steve Yzerman had said it was possible they could come to terms with a deal beforehand, but was preparing just in case they had a hearing.

Purcell, 25, who made $750,000 last year, racked up career highs of 17 goals, 34 assists and 51 points in 81 games. He also had a very good postseason, with 17 points in 18 playoff games, and is expected to have a top-six role among forwards next year.

With the Lightning agreeing to terms with star center Steven Stamkos Tuesday - on a five year, 37.5 million deal - and now coming to agreement with Purcell, it appears that it's roster is pretty much set going into the season.

[Last modified: Friday, August 19, 2011 12:15am]


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