Lightning signs Brown, Paquette, Witkowski
The Lightning started chipping away at its many restricted free agents Friday, signing three, including RW J.T. Brown and C Cedric Paquette to two-year deals.
D Luke Witkowski also signed a one-year deal.
Brown, a key bottom-six forward and penalty killer, received a $2.5 million deal ($1.25 million per year), with Paquette $1.625 million ($800,000 next season, $825,000) in 2017-18.
Tampa Bay still has several restricted free agents to lock up, including RW Nikita Kucherov, a 30-goal scorer who is due a big raise from the $700,000 he made last season. The Lightning has had preliminary discussions with Kucherov's camp, but so far preliminary, with no offers yet. There should be more talk leading up until July 1 and after.
RW Alex Killorn and C Vladislav Namestnikov also are restricted free agents, along with G Kristers Gudlevskis. Pat Brisson, Namestnikov's agent, said he plans to talk to Tampa Bay in the next week. The Lightning has an estimated $18.3875 million in cap space for next season, according to generalfanager.com. That doesn't include a potential contract for C Steven Stamkos, either.
Yzerman said he's hopeful to keep all of his restricted free agents, as long as it fits with the salary cap.