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Lightning re-sign Ondrej Palat to a 5-year, $26.5 million extension

The 26-year-old forward and the Lightning avoid salary arbitration with the new deal.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed left winger Ondrej Palat to a five-year, $26.5 million contract extension, according to Elliotte Friedman. The deal comes out to a $5.3 million AVV over the next five seasons, with Arizona Sports reporter Craig Morgan‏ confirming the salary breakdown.

The Lightning themselves then confirmed the deal less than an hour after the reports broke.

Palat was a restricted free agent and was one of the last big signings needed for general manager Steve Yzerman this offseason. The 26-year-old forward will now be signed into his early 30s, as his new contract will end after the 2021-22 season.

Last season, Palat put up 52 points in 75 games, good enough for fourth on the team overall. In Palat’s first full season in the NHL, the forward put up 59 points in 81 games in the 2013-14 season to snag a nomination for the Calder Trophy.

The left winger is one-third of the Lightning’s famous “Triplets” line, which includes forwards Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov. Johnson was recently signed to a seven-year, $35 million deal that averages out to $5 million per year. With the pair of signings, the Lightning now have a projected cap space of $3.25 million, according to Cap Friendly.

Sinking $10.3 million per season into both Johnson and Palat for the foreseeable future is likely the reason Jonathan Drouin was dealt to Montreal earlier in the offseason. The Lightning are stacked with talented forwards that clearly command and deserve a chunk of salary, and Yzerman was going to have to make a move somewhere.

The deal also allows the Lightning to avoid salary arbitration with Palat, which would have been scheduled for later this month.