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Lightning re-signs Jan Rutta to one-year deal

The defensemen takes a lower salary. Tampa Bay now has five of last year’s eight defensemen under contract.
DIRK SHADD   |   Times
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta (44) skates to the puck during the second period against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Wednesday, April 10, 2019 in Tampa.
DIRK SHADD | Times Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta (44) skates to the puck during the second period against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Wednesday, April 10, 2019 in Tampa.
Published May 3, 2019
Updated May 3, 2019

TAMPA — The Lightning liked what it saw from Jan Rutta in his 18 games with Tampa Bay this season. The organization announced a new contract for Rutta on Friday.

Rutta signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $1.3 million. That’s down about $1 million from his previous contract.

The 28-year-old recorded two assists in 14 regular-season games, then two more in four playoff games with the Lightning. Jon Cooper praised his play overall, saying he settled into his role after a few games.

Related: MORE: Jan Rutta finding his role on the Lightning blue line

Reducing the salary hit is important for the Lightning. The team doesn’t have much wiggle room with some raises about to go into effect and more players to re-sign, highlighted by Brayden Point.

Four of the eight defensemen Tampa Bay finished the season with are free agents this summer, including Rutta. Braydon Coburn, Dan Girardi and Anton Stralman’s contracts also expire. The collective blue line cap hit ($27.6 million last season) is now $17.5 million for five defensemen, accounting for Ryan McDonagh’s increase and Rutta’s new contract.