It’s not quite the deal that Nikita Kucherov received yesterday, but another Tampa Bay Lightning forward has re-signed with the team. Adam Erne has agreed to a one-year, one-way contract worth $800K. Erne was the team’s last remaining restricted free agent this summer.
The 23-year old Erne hasn’t quite been able to lock down a full-time role with the Lightning to this point in his short career, but could certainly challenge for ice time this season. Tampa Bay always seems to have more cap room when they want to make a big move, and it’s because of inexpensive players like Erne making a real impact at the NHL level. If he can continue to play a heavy game at the bottom of the lineup he’ll be a valuable contributor even without adding a ton of offense. That offense though could still come, as Erne has been a solid—if unspectacular—producer at the minor league level, scoring 26 points in 41 games last season for the Syracuse Crunch. He added just four points during 23 NHL contests.
If he’s not given an opportunity over the next two seasons, Erne would actually qualify for Group VI unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2020. He needs 31 NHL contests before then to become ineligible, or sign a longer-term contract next summer. For now, he’ll play out his year and try to prove that he deserves another deal as a restricted free agent in a year’s time.