The Tampa Bay Lightning have come to terms with RFA centerman Vladislav Namestnikov, as reported by ESPN’s Craig Custance. It is a two-year deal worth $1.937MM a season. The signing avoids a July 29th salary arbitration hearing.
The Russian finished the last year of his ELC by scoring 14G and 21A in 80 games, which was good for seventh in team scoring. He slowed down in the playoffs, however, and only accumulated 1G and 2A in 17 games. The deal is slightly lower than market value, as fellow RFA Kevin Hayes agreed to $2.6MM, but then both Peter Holland and Mikhail Grigorenko signed for $1.3MM with slightly lower stats.
The Lightning have approximately $6.59MM in cap space after the signing—and will need every cent to sign remaining RFAs Nikita Nesterov and Nikita Kucherov. Kucherov especially, as he led the team in scoring and will be looking for a substantial raise. Moreover, next season Jonathan Drouin, Ondrej Palat, and Tyler Johnson all become RFAs, with the latter two arbitration-eligible. Tampa will be tight up against the cap this season, and will have to use creative cap-saving methods popularized by the Chicago Blackhawks.