Lightning defenseman Mike Lundin said he will go into next season with "a little more confidence and less pressure."
A new one-year contract will do that for a player, especially the one-way deal Lundin signed Tuesday that will pay $750,000 whether he is in the NHL or the minors.
After bouncing between leagues the past two seasons, with contracts that paid a lot less if he was in the minors, the vote of confidence from the organization was welcomed. "It's nice to know you're at least penciled in a little more than I have been in the past," Lundin said.
Tampa Bay on Tuesday also signed right wing Teddy Purcell to a one-year, $750,000 contract. But Lundin, 25, grew up in the Lightning organization, and last season he became the team's shutdown blue-liner after his December callup from AHL Norfolk. "He led us to believe," general manager Steve Yzerman said, "his career is going in the right direction."
Lundin's story is well known. As a rookie out of Maine in 2007-08, he earned a job out of training camp. But he spent most of the next season and the first half of 2009-10 with Norfolk.
From December on, though, with a good stick, good speed and an ability not to panic, he matched up against, and often got the best of, some of the NHL's elite forwards. He had three goals and 13 points in 48 games and was second on the team with an average 21:56 of ice time.
But Lundin said he is not taking anything for granted, and Yzerman said he will use next season to evaluate Lundin, and Matt Smaby and Matt Lashoff, two young defensemen who have one year left on their one-way deals.
"No matter the team or who the GM or coach is, I don't think a player like myself can ever get truly comfortable," Lundin said. "In this position, I have to continue to improve and perform, or someone else will be there who can do it and take my job. You can't relax."
But all indications are he will be in the NHL.
Demers hospitalized: Ex-Lightning coach and GM Jacques Demers was in stable condition in an Ottawa hospital after two surgeries for a stomach ailment, Canadian media reported. Demers' assistant, Line Tessier, said she did not know what his recovery time would be. Demers, 65, coached four NHL teams, including the Lightning from 1997 to 1999.
Blues: Goalie Jaroslav Halak signed a four-year deal worth $15 million. Halak was acquired from Montreal on June 17 in a surprising trade after he led the Canadiens to this year's Eastern Conference final with upsets of the Capitals and Penguins.
Times staff writer Tom Jones contributed to this report, which used information from Times wires.