The Tampa Bay Lightning have added a little more forward depth. Boo Nieves, who had been in Lightning camp on a professional tryout, has signed a one-year, two-way contract. The 26-year-old Nieves became a Group VI unrestricted free agent this offseason when his last contract with the New York Rangers expired. Joe Smith of The Athletic reports that the deal is worth $708K at the NHL level.
It hasn’t been a smooth road for Nieves, who was selected 59th overall in 2012 but spent the next four seasons at the University of Michigan. After signing with the Rangers in 2016 he seemed to spend every other day on the transaction page, bouncing up and down between the NHL and AHL. Over the four seasons he spent in New York, Nieves played in 76 NHL games and 147 AHL games, never seeming to stay in one place for very long. Last season he failed to score a single point in his four Rangers appearances.
Still, the Lightning—or Rangers South as some have come to call them thanks to their long list of players that have suited up for both franchises—obviously believe he can provide some value to the team. With Nikita Kucherov out long-term and the team still potentially looking to clear cap space by moving veteran forwards, extra bodies will be needed if Tampa Bay wants to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. No, Nieves isn’t expected to play a big role, but NHL experience is valuable in a condensed season that could be sidetracked at any moment due to injury or illness.