1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Lightning

Could Jimmy Huntington be the next undrafted free agent standout for the Lightning?

Tampa Bay has had success with undrafted players like Tyler Johnson and Alex Barre-Boulet.
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jimmy Huntington (47) takes a bite out of his stick blade while taking with goaltending coach Frantz Jean on the first day on the ice at the beginning of training camp. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Published Sep. 19

BRANDON — The Lightning have a history of success with undrafted free agents, and Jimmy Huntington hopes to continue that trend.

The Lightning added depth by signing the forward in March, and the 20-year-old prospect made his first Tampa Bay appearance in Wednesday’s 2-0 preseason loss to Carolina.

After being passed over by every NHL team in the draft process, Huntington signed a three-year, entry-level contract with Tampa Bay as an undrafted free agent, following the likes of forward Tyler Johnson and 22-year-old AHL Rookie of the Year Alex Barre-Boulet.

MORE LIGHTNING: Brothers Cal and Nolan Foote didn’t get to share a room but they did share a roster.

“It’s an honor,” Huntington said of his opportunity with the Lightning.

Huntington was injured during the rookie tournament Sept. 7-10 in Tennessee, so coach Jon Cooper got his first look at the young forward on Wednesday. Huntington centered the third line and played 13:51.

“He fared well,” Cooper said. “We count on these guys to kill penalties for us. He won some faceoffs for us and I thought he got stronger as the game went on.”

Huntington played 66 games and recorded 92 points with the Rimouski Oceanic in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season. His line featured Alexis Lafreniere, the top prospect eligible for the 2020 draft, per

MORE LIGHTNING: Join our Lightning Strikes! Facebook group for conversation, polls, story links and more

“(Huntington) was the guy driving the line (for Rimouski),” said Lightning assistant general manager Stacy Roest. “The more we watched him, the more we liked him and the better he got.”

Huntington hopes to bring physicality to the ice over the life of his three-year contract.

“I see my role as a two-way forward, playing defense and offense,” Huntington said. “I have three years to prove myself.”


  1. Montreal Canadiens left wing Jonathan Drouin (92) takes a shot during the first period of a game against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C., on Oct. 3, 2019. GERRY BROOME  |  AP
    Also, Tampa Bay’s practice picks up in intensity after a day off ... and a lackluster showing on Saturday.
  2. The Lightning's alternate "disrupt the night" jerseys will be back for weekend games at Amalie Arena this season. SHADD, DIRK  |  Tampa Bay Times
    “Disrupt the night” jerseys return for weekend games, starting on Saturday.
  3. Lightning forward Yanni Gourde and the rest of the team have to play with more consistency. The fifth of six consecutive road games takes place Tuesday in Montreal. FRED CHARTRAND  |  AP
    A Stanley Cup favorite beat the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, but a lackluster group fell to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.
  4. Ottawa Senators defenceman Mark Borowiecki (74) collides with Tampa Bay Lightning centre Alex Killorn (17) and centre Anthony Cirelli during second period of NHL action in Ottawa, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. FRED CHARTRAND  |  AP
    Diana C. Nearhos’ takeaways: Brayden Point shouldn’t be dropping the gloves. Lightning aren’t rolling four lines. Senators’ arena leaves a lot to be desired.
  5. Ottawa Senators center Vladislav Namestnikov (90) attempts to check Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) during first period of NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday. FRED CHARTRAND  |  AP
    Tampa Bay drafted Namestnikov in the first round eight years ago. He had two goals and an assist for the Senators.
  6. Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson (41) scoops the puck up in front of Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) as Senators defenseman Nikita Zaitsev (22) defends during the first period Saturday. FRED CHARTRAND  |  AP
    Giving up opportunities off the rush has been a recurring issue for Tampa Bay early this season.
  7. Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Mathieu Joseph (7) celebrates a goal during the third period against the Florida Panthers last weekend in Sunrise. BRYNN ANDERSON  |  AP
    Slap Shots: Tampa Bay would like to be at home, but as far as road trips go, this one isn’t too bad.
  8. Victor Hedman played his 700th game in Toronto on Thursday. COLE BURSTON  |  AP
    Teammates call Hedman the “nicest guy you’ll ever meet” and the “ultimate friend.”
  9. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77), right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) and center Steven Stamkos (91) celebrate a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period. COLE BURSTON  |  AP
    Tampa Bay takes its shot, over and over again, against the Maple Leafs.
  10. Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) celebrates his goal with defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98), defenseman Victor Hedman (77), and center Steven Stamkos (91) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Toronto. COLE BURSTON  |  AP
    The trio start Thursday’s game together and it’s safe to say that’s a winning combo: Lightning 7, Maple Leafs 3.