TAMPA — At this point in his NHL career, Tampa is exactly where Zach Bogosian wants to be.
The defenseman is returning to the Lightning on a three-year deal worth $850,000 annually, according to his agent, Darren Ferris.
The Lightning also picked up a backup goaltender Wednesday on the first day of free agency, adding former Flyer Brian Elliott on a one-year deal worth $900,000, according to a news release from the team.
Bogosian, part of the 2020 Stanley Cup-winning squad, turned down more lucrative offers to return to the Lightning, TSN’s Darren Dreger reported. But the money wasn’t worth as much to Bogosian as the relationships he built during his last tour with the team and the stability that came with a longer-term deal.
“I’m super excited,” Bogosian said. “It was a pretty easy decision to just walk into a locker room you’re already familiar with, an organization you’re familiar with.”
Unlike his last stop in Tampa Bay, Bogosian has the chance to call the area home for the next three years, a critical piece in the conversations between him, his agent and the organizations interested in signing him.
“I have three little kids, and for them to be bouncing around the last few years has been hard on the family life,” Bogosian said. “So to be able to call Tampa home for three years (means a lot).”
Bogosian said his wife, Bianca, and their three children were running around the house screaming, “Go Bolts!” after the deal was made official.
“They obviously have great memories there,” Bogosian said.
At the top of the list of reasons Bogosian wanted to return to the Lightning is that the team has the chance to win consistently.
He said having many teammate in the same domestic situation — married with young kids — also helps to create a “cool dynamic” in the dressing room where families can hang out and raise their kids together.
Bogosian said he kept in touch with teammates despite the year away from the team.
“In that environment, in professional sports, it’s so cool to be a part of a locker room like that,” he said. “It’s just a great group of human beings, all in one room, it’s pretty unique to see.”
The Lightning were in the market for a new backup goaltender with Curtis McElhinney’s two-year deal expiring, and they found one within the first few minutes of free agency in Elliott.
Elliott played in 30 games for the Flyers this past season, going 15-9 with a goals-against average of 3.06. His .889 save percentage was the lowest among goaltenders who played at least 30 games last season.
There was no news on McElhinney, who suited up for 30 games for Tampa Bay over the past two seasons, including 12 in 2020-21. He did not appear in a postseason game for the Lightning, as Andrei Vasilevskiy made every start during the team’s back-to-back Stanley Cup runs.
Christopher Gibson, who started two games for the Lightning this past season, going 1-1 with a 2.66 goals-against average and .875 save percentage, headed south to join the Florida Panthers. Gibson, on the taxi squad for much of the season, will contend for a bigger role in Sunrise.
Other free agency and trade news:
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