Thursday: Now that the transaction freeze has lifted, the Lightning have made the signing official.
Monday: According to Bob McKenzie of TSN, the Tampa Bay Lightning have agreed to terms with goaltender Peter Budaj on a two-year extension worth $1.025MM per season. Since the league is technically in a signing moratorium at present, the contract will not likely be announced until Thursday. Budaj was set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Amazingly, Budaj had been on a two-way contract as recently as last season when he was summoned from the AHL to try and save the Los Angeles Kings season. When Jonathan Quick and Jeff Zatkoff both went down to injuries early in the year, Budaj was brought up and performed quite well in the Los Angeles net. At the deadline, he was dealt to the Lightning for Ben Bishop, who couldn’t help the Kings scrape their way into the playoffs and was eventually dealt to the Dallas Stars this offseason.
Budaj on the other hand will now be the full-time backup for starter Andrei Vasilevskiy in Tampa Bay, and help the young netminder try and get the Lightning back into the playoff hunt. Expected once again to be a Stanley Cup contender, Budaj’s experience is almost entirely limited to the regular season, but after a year in which he put up a .915 mark his low cap hit is still a nice value for the team. The duo will only cost GM Steve Yzerman ~$4.5MM per season combined over the next couple of years, one of the lowest numbers in the league.
35 by the time the 2017-18 season starts, Budaj is no lock to provide the above-average goaltending he put up this year but should still be able to provide ample value for this contract.