Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dotchin signed while Lightning's Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat file for salary arbitration

Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18), left, and Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9) celebrate the Lightning’s second goal during the third period of Wednesday??? ?? ?s (3/1/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Carolina Hurricanes at Amalie Arena in Tampa.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18), left, and Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9) celebrate the Lightning’s second goal during the third period of Wednesday??? ?? ?s (3/1/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Carolina Hurricanes at Amalie Arena in Tampa.

TAMPA — As expected, the Lightning re-signed defenseman Jake Dotchin on Wednesday to a bargain, two-year deal worth $812,500 annually.

That was the easy part.

The more challenging next step for Tampa Bay is coming to terms with its big-name restricted free agents, Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat. Both filed for arbitration by Wednesday's 5 p.m. deadline.

No need to set off any alarms. This move was expected, a logical next step in negotiations. Johnson and Palat will have arbitration hearings scheduled in late July/early August for their camps and the Lightning to each propose a contract for next season and argue their case, with an independent arbitrator ruling.

Keep in mind, the Lightning, Palat and Johnson can negotiate until the hearings. It wouldn't be surprising if Johnson and Palat sign deals before their hearings are held, like Alex Killorn and Vladislav Namestnikov did last July. It doesn't sound like the parties are far apart. The Lightning has the money — $13.6 million in salary cap space — and wants to bring Johnson and Palat back.

But to this point, neither the players nor the team has had a deadline in negotiations. Now they do. My best guess is Johnson and Palat each gets a deal that nets in the $5 million annual average range. Both players are coming off identical three-year, $10 million bridge deals.

General manager Steve Yzerman said Saturday that a reason he didn't want to give up much term on free agent deals when free agency opened that day was because of looming long-term deals with his current players, such as Johnson and Palat. Nikita Kucherov will need a new deal in two years, Andrei Vasilevskiy soon after.

"It's hard to make long-term commitments," Yzerman said Saturday. "We can only do that with so many players. We've done that with a few of our guys. And we're looking at contracts for Palat and Johnson, and not too far away is (Kucherov) and after him is (Vasilevskiy). So you have to keep those things in mind."

In other Lightning news:

• Forward Matt Peca signed a one-year, two-way deal with an NHL salary of $650,000. Peca, 24, was impressive in his 10-game callup last season and with AHL Syracuse in its run to the Calder Cup final. Peca could compete for a roster spot in training camp or be a key cog with the Crunch.

• Syracuse signed goalie Nick Riopel to an AHL contract. Riopel will likely be back with ECHL Kalamazoo.

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

Podcast

Lightning beat writer Joe Smith breaks down the team's summer moves so far, including the Jonathan Drouin trade and free agency signings, in the latest edition of the Lightning Strikes podcast, on tampabay.com/lightning at 8 a.m. Thursday. Also available on iTunes.

Dotchin signed while Lightning's Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat file for salary arbitration 07/06/17 [Last modified: Thursday, July 6, 2017 6:26am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.
  2. Rays vs. Orioles, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Orioles

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  3. Rays journal: Sergio Romo excited for fresh start in AL

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Sergio Romo was about to play catch with LHP Adam Kolarek before Monday's batting practice when he paused.

    RAMOS EXITS: Rays catcher Wilson Ramos clutches his head after being beaned by Ruben Tejada’s broken bat in the fifth inning. Ramos leaves the game and receives six staples to close a laceration on his head.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    LHP Blake Snell stepped up when the Rays needed him to — and perhaps when he had to to keep his job — working a season-high seven plus innings. And it wasn't only that he got deep into the game, but how he did so, using his fastball to pound the strike zone.

  5. Urban Meyer says the Big Ten is now the equal of the SEC

    College

    CHICAGO — Ohio State coach Urban Meyer doesn't just believe the Big Ten has closed the gap with the more heralded SEC. He is convinced the race is a dead heat already.

    Ohio State’s Urban Meyer says the Big Ten East is as strong as the SEC East was when he coached UF to two national titles.