July 23: The Lightning have officially announced Smith’s two-year, two-way deal.
July 22: The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Gemel Smith to a two-year, two-way contract extension, according to CapFriendly. The deal will carry an NHL salary of $750K, an AHL salary of $250K and a minor league guarantee of $350K in both seasons. Smith would have become an unrestricted free agent next week.
Smith, 27, laid five games for the Lightning this season, recording three assists in limited ice time. While he only has 88 career NHL games under his belt, Tampa Bay may need more and more to rely on these fringe roster players as they deal with the flat cap. Players like Ross Colton and Alex Barre-Boulet are both restricted free agents with arbitration rights, while other bottom-six bargains like Barclay Goodrow have moved on to greener pastures.
At the very least, Smith can continue to provide top-end scoring in the AHL, where he has 86 points over his past 100 games. Originally a fourth-round pick by the Dallas Stars, he now represents valuable depth for an organization that prioritizes it at all levels.