It was announced to very little fan fare yesterday, maybe more so that there wasn't a roster freeze or an expansion draft going on, but the Tampa Bay Lightning let slip that they have re-signed goaltender Peter Budaj to a new 2-year contract extension on Monday afternoon.
It hasn't received the grand announcement just yet, but it looks like it will come after the expansion draft and the roster freeze, but something like this would suggest that the Lightning may already know who the Golden Knights are taking tomorrow and may also have solidified a deal to ensure that fate. We'll see.
Back to Budaj though... the deal is a 2-year, $2.05 million deal, which isn't what you'd expect for the top UFA coming off the board, but there is a realization that he will be the back-up behind Andrei Vasilevskiy in Tampa Bay next season.
Budaj is coming off a massive season, thanks to the injury to Jonathan Quick in Los Angeles early last season, as the 34-year old Slovak appeared in 60 games between the Kings and Lightning, winning 30 games and posting 75 points in the hockey pool. He was 19th overall in scoring, 9th among goalies, but barring a repeat injury performance, these numbers are expected to drop significantly.
This isn't to say that he won't be a worthy goalie in the 2018 season though. Vasilevskiy is still fairly young, 22 years old, and may not be ready to handle the full work load in the coming season, so Budaj will likely get his share of appearances and thus, find some points behind a fairly potent offense.
Putting together a 23-man roster with who is signed today still offers the Lightning plenty of flexibility to improve over this off-season, as the roster below is only coming in at $63.25 million, as a preliminary number, which, in theory, would still leave them with $11.75 million against the new $75 million cap ceiling. Again, still lots of tinkering to do.
|Steven Stamkos||8.500||Victor Hedman||7.875||Andrei Vasilevskiy||3.500|
|Ryan Callahan||5.800||Jason Garrison||4.600||Peter Budaj||1.025|
|Nikita Kucherov||4.767||Anton Stralman||4.500|
|Alex Killorn||4.450||Braydon Coburn||3.700|
|Vladislav Namestnikov||1.938||Mikhail Sergachev||0.894|
|J.T. Brown||1.250||Libor Hajek||0.864|
|Erik Condra||1.250||Mathieu Joseph||0.743|
|Brett Howden||0.925||Erik Cernak||0.702|