Friday, January 19, 2018
Sports

Lightning's Johnson gets 3-year, $10M deal

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

Johnson, 23, signed a three-year, $10 million contract extension that goes through 2016-17. Johnson, a Calder Trophy finalist for rookie of the year, was set to be a restricted free agent July 1.

"He had an outstanding first year in the league," general manager Steve Yzerman said. "As the year went on, he started to recognize or sense that 'I could play in this league, and I can be effective.' His confidence grew, and he really asserted himself and played well. He just got better and better as the year went on."

Johnson set a club rookie record with 24 goals and finished third among NHL rookies in points (50) while flourishing on the top line. He carried that momentum into the world championship in Belarus, leading the United States with six goals as the Americans were eliminated in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Johnson's agent, Mark MacKay, said negotiations were easy because both sides were high on each other. Johnson — unavailable for comment because he was still in Belarus — is "very happy" with the deal, McKay said.

The Lightning has 14 players scheduled to be restricted free agents, including Ondrej Palat, another Calder Trophy finalist. Palat's agent, Craig Oster, said both sides are interested in a deal but no serious talks have been held.

Hot target: Lightning assistant GM Julien BriseBois is on the Penguins' list of candidates for their vacant general manager job, media reports say. Pittsburgh fired Ray Shero last week. Yzerman declined to confirm whether any team has requested permission to speak to BriseBois. But he said it's "only a matter of time" before BriseBois, 37 and his right-hand man since 2010, gets an opportunity and he would be an "outstanding" general manager.

Suspensions for Ranger, Canadien

Rangers forward Daniel Carcillo was given an automatic 10-game suspension for physical abuse of officials, and Canadiens forward Brandon Prust was suspended two games for a late hit on Rangers forward Derek Stepan that led to Stepan breaking his jaw. Both bans stem from altercations in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final Thursday.

Carcillo appeared to twice elbow linesman Scott Driscoll, who was trying to keep him away from a fight, while being escorted to the penalty box.

Prust hit Stepan late after Stepan got rid of the puck in the first. Prust wasn't penalized. The suspension is for the hit's "extreme lateness," almost a full second after Stepan got rid of the puck, the league said. Stepan left the game but returned. Exams later revealed the fracture. Stepan is out indefinitely.

GM of the year: The Canadiens' Marc Bergevin, the Kings' Dean Lombardi and the Ducks' Bob Murray are the award finalists. The winner will be announced June 24.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

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