It was inevitable goaltender Anders Lindback would sign a contract with the Lightning.
Both sides wanted it to get it done, and Tampa Bay held the restricted free agent's rights.
Still, Lindback said, "You always want to get things in order."
That happened Friday. Lindback signed a two-year, $3.6 million deal that pays $1.4 million next season and $2.2 million in 2013-14.
Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said the two-year term should take some pressure off Lindback as he works his way toward becoming what the team hopes is its long-term solution in net.
"Two years gives Anders an opportunity to settle into our organization, earn that starting job and not have to worry about a contract for another year," Yzerman said. "He's not committed for too long, and if his game takes off — and we hope that it does — he's in a position to sign a longer-term deal."
Lindback, 24, was acquired in June for two second-round picks in this year's draft, a 2013 third-round pick and backup goalie Sebastien Caron.
He played just 38 games the past two seasons sitting behind 2012 Vezina Trophy finalist Pekka Rinne. But at 6 feet 6 and athletic, Lindback covers a lot of net, and his career 2.52 goals-against average and .914 save percentage are notable given his lack of consistent work.
The consensus around the league is he is ready to take the next step. Though he will compete with Mathieu Garon for the starting job, it seems it is Lindback's to lose.
"We believe in him," Yzerman said. "We made a major commitment to acquire him."
"This is what I've been preparing myself for," Lindback said about being a No. 1. "That's what I want.
"I'm very happy with this deal, and I'm really excited to get going. I really feel like I can just focus on getting in as good shape as I can towards the start of the season. … Hopefully, it will turn out really good."
Damian Cristodero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. View his blog at lightning.tampabay.com.