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Monday, Sep 01, 2014
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning re-sign C Tyler Johnson to 3-year deal

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Published:   |   Updated: May 23, 2014 at 05:53 PM

— The Tampa Bay Lightning wasted little time ensuring one of their top young players remains under wraps.

Tampa Bay re-signed center Tyler Johnson on Friday to a three-year contract extension worth $10 million. Johnson was scheduled to be a restricted free agent on July 1 and was eligible to file for arbitration.

Johnson will make $2.8 million in the first year of the deal, $3.2 million in the second year and $4 million in the final year of the contract.

Johnson is one of three finalists for the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year after tying for the league lead among rookies with 24 goals, finishing third in rookie scoring with 50 points and tying Boston's Brad Marchand for the league lead with five shorthanded goals.

His 24 goals set a Lightning franchise rookie record. Johnson also became just the second rookie in league history to record at least five power play goals and five shorthanded goals in the same season.

“He had a very good first year and we are counting on him to be better,'' Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said. “He got better as the year went on, there is still room to improve. ...He's got the skating ability and the skills and hockey sense and he's committed to being a good overall player.''

After the Lightning were swept out of the postseason by Montreal, Johnson was invited to represent USA Hockey at the World Championships and led the U.S. with six goals and was third with nine points while playing as the No. 1 center. The U.S. was knocked out of the tournament following a 4-3 loss to Czech Republic on Thursday.

“He really asserted himself, his speed and scoring ability were really evident,'' Yzerman said of Johnson's play for USA. “The U.S. had a really talented and young team and it looked like Tyler was one of the guys who stepped up and was a real leader on that team. He did very well. A really good experience for him to get over there and play more hockey. I'm glad he went.''

Tampa Bay still has 14 current players scheduled to be restricted free agents this summer, most notably Ondrej Palat, also a Calder Trophy finalist, Alex Killorn, J.T. Brown, Richard Panik, Andrej Sustr, Mark Barberio, goaltender Anders Lindback and Brett Connolly. Killorn, Brown, Barberio, Lindback and Sustr all have arbitration rights.

“I wouldn't describe anything else close right now,'' Yzerman said.

Still in contact

Yzerman remains in contact with Steve Bartlett, the agent for forward Ryan Callahan, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

“I talked with Steve Bartlett (Friday) and we'll talk again next week,'' Yzerman said.

Callahan was acquired from the New York Rangers at the trade deadline in the deal that sent Marty St. Louis to New York.

No confirmation

Yzerman would not confirm reports the Pittsburgh Penguins have requested permission to speak to Tampa Bay assistant general manager Julien BriseBois about the vacant general manager position with the Penguins.

eerlendsson@tampatrib.com

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