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Lightning sign Tyler Johnson to three-year deal

Lightning rookie center Tyler Johnson's big year just got even better.

Johnson, 23, a Calder Memorial Trophy Finalist, has signed a three-year, $10-million deal with Tampa Bay that keeps him through the 2016-2017 season. Johnson was set to be a restricted free agent on July 1, but agent Mark MacKay said negotations were "easy," as both sides were eager to get a deal done.

"He had an outstanding first year in the league," Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said. "He's one of several restricted free agents that we intend to get resigned and this gets us started. We're happy to have him under contract and expected to get him signed, so he can continue his development.

Johnson set a Lightning rookie record with 24 goals this season (and 50 points), flourishing on the top line. He carried that momentum into the World Championships, leading Team USA with six goals, before the Americans were eliminated in the quarterfinals.

"A great experience," Yzerman said. "USA had a very talented, young team, and I thought he played extremely well as the tournament went on, got better and better. It's good for his confidence, he stepped up on a talented group of young players and asserted himself on the ice as a go-to  player."

This is a good bridge contract for Johnson, who will be a free agent at age 26, with the deal adding another chapter to his special year.

"It's one of those years that he'll definitely remember for a long time," MacKay said. "He's in a good place right now."

Another star rookie, Ondrej Palat, is also scheduled to be a restricted free agent July 1. His agent, Craig Oster, said both sides are interested in coming to a deal, but there have been no serious discussions as of yet.

Yzerman wouldn't get specific when it comes to other restricted free agents, other than they have a lot to work on and get done.

*In other news, Ryan Callahan's agent Steve Bartlett said he's spoken with Yzerman, and plans to again next week, though there's nothing new to report.


[Last modified: Friday, May 23, 2014 5:38pm]


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