Lightning and Alex Killorn agree to seven-year deal
The Lightning has locked up another core player long-term, agreeing with wing Alex Killorn on a seven-year deal which brings a $4.45 million annual average.
Killorn, 25, who made $2.55 million last season, was a restricted free agent who had filed for arbitration. He's entering his fifth season with the Lightning, having racked up 14 goals and 26 assists in 81 games last year (five, eight, 13 points in playoffs).
Killorn has a modified no-trade clause.
"We're very comfortable doing a long-term contract at the right cap number with Alex," GM Steve Yzerman said Sunday. "He's been with us his entire career. He's a high-character young man, tremendously fit and part of the core of our team. We're trying to keep the core together as much as we can."
With Killorn signed, the Lightning has about $8.53 million remaining in cap space for next season, and still have remaining restricted free agents like Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Nikita Nesterov to sign. Yzerman said it's their intention to sign Kucherov, Namestnikov and Nesterov, but offered no update other than saying negotiations continue. Namestnikov has an arbitration hearing scheduled for July 29.
"We'll certainly try to get it done before the hearing," Yzerman said. "But if we have to go, we have to go."
Yzerman acknowledged that depending on what happens with the remaining RFA contracts, "in all likelihood," Tampa Bay will have to make a move to become cap compliant by the beginning of the season. But Yzerman said another buyout is not a consideration.
Veteran center Valtteri Filppula, with a $5 million cap hit the next two seasons, could be a candidate to get moved, especially as he'll need to be protected in next year's expansion draft. Other players with trade value include defenseman Jason Garrison ($4.6 million the next two years) and, of course, goalie Ben Bishop, who is entering the last year of his deal at $5.95 million. Andrei Vasilevskiy was signed to a three-year extension on July 1. Yzerman has said he'd likely have to trade a goalie or risk losing one before the expansion draft.
Asked if there's been any clarity on his goalie situation, Yzerman said, "Things are very quiet right now. We're more than happpy to go into the season with both goalies."
The Lightning already signed captain Steven Stamkos (eight years, $68 million) and defenseman Victor Hedman (eight years, $63 million) earlier this summer. Killorn was another key piece, with Yzerman saying his playoff performance played into the contract.
"He's a very reliable, very useful in all situations player," Yzerman said. "He can play right wing, can play left wing, can play in all spots. He's played very well in the playoffs for us.
"One thing that was important to Alex is he wants to play in Tampa and he'd like a long-term deal. And we were able to work it out."