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Lightning signs college standout Cody Kunyk



The Lightning on Thursday signed center Cody Kunyk, a free agent out of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. It is a one-year, two-way deal, meaning Kunyk will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season. He will be assigned to the Lightning, Tampa Bay assistant general manager Julien BriseBois said.

With 22 goals, 43 points and at plus-13 in 37 games, Kunyk, 5 feet 11, 197 pounds, who last summer attended the Lightning's prospect camp, was the WCHA player of the year.

"Strong skater," said Tom Kurvers, Tampa Bay's top college scout. "He's strong and balanced on his skates. He's got speed, he's got hockey sense, he can shoot the puck."

The one-year deal seems restrictive, but BriseBois said under the collective bargaining agreement, because Kunyk turns 24 this year, he can only be signed to a one-year deal. The contract could have started in July, BriseBois said, but it was clear in negotiations the Kunyk camp wanted it to begin immediately.

Here is the announcement from the team:

The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent forward Cody Kunyk to a one year, two-way NHL contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Kunyk, 23, skated in 37 games for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks this season, posting 22 goals and 43 points to go along with 22 penalty minutes and a plus-13 rating. The 5-foot-11, 197-pound forward led the Nanooks for goals, points, power-play goals (six) and shorthanded goals (two). Kunyk was named the WCHA’s Player of the Year and to the First Team All-WCHA team. He also led the WCHA for scoring during the 2013-14 season.

The Sherwood Park, Alberta native skated in 148 games over four seasons at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, amassing 60 goals and 133 points. He set career highs his senior year for goals, assists (21) and points. Kunyk became the 30th Nanook in program history to join the 100-point club with a goal on November 22, 2013.

[Last modified: Thursday, March 20, 2014 2:23pm]


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