3:43 pm: Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald has made the contract official, locking Palat in for five seasons at a cap hit of $6MM.
6:22 am: Late last night, once most of the league had gone to sleep, the New Jersey Devils were busy adding some Stanley Cup pedigree. Kevin Weekes of ESPN was first to report that Ondrej Palat would be signing a five-year deal with the Devils, and Chris Johnston of TSN added that it is expected to carry a cap hit of $6MM.
Palat, 31, has long been a swiss army knife for the Tampa Bay Lightning, able to move into any situation and excel. In 628 regular season games, all with the Lightning, he has 423 points. It has been the postseason where he shines the brightest, showing up at the biggest moments to score a game-winning goal, or deliver a game-saving shot block. This season, he had 21 points in 23 games as the Lightning tried to win their third consecutive championship.
In New Jersey, while he will still be asked to contribute at a high level, his addition will also give young players like Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier someone to lean on to find out “what it takes” to win in the NHL. As the Devils try to transition away from a rebuild and into a contention window, Palat should be able to help shepherd them along, filling in the gaps wherever necessary.
At a $6MM cap hit, a team like Tampa Bay would have had too much risk exposure, given their tight financial structure. In New Jersey, the team has plenty of space and should feel that same squeeze, though there will still likely be years at the end of the deal where he is not performing anywhere near a $6MM value. The focus is on his contributions in the short-term, and whether he can help the young Devils team reach the next level.
Lame, I thought the Devils might swoop in on Palat. Wanted the Pens to get him. A bit steep for our price range, but NJ had the Johnny Hockey Money laying around.
I actually like this signing more than if they got Gaudreau. NJ is already a tiny and light team. Palat is no giant or bruiser, but…in NJ he’s Keith Tkachuk next to the others. Brings grit, D, PK and still plays top 6….this isn’t as shiny as what CBJ did, but…I think NJ won out here.
One problem for NJ is they are really left shot heavy. Can only think of Mercer as a right shot forward. Too easy to defend when you can just force a team full of left shots to play near the wall on their backhands. I watched teams do that to the Pens for years before they finally caught on and got some balance to the lineup.
You like this signing more than if they signed Johnny Gaudreau? Gotta believe that you could not type that with a straight face but if you actually believe it, you might be the only member of that clan.
Holtz is a RH shot.
Islanders you are so dumb. This was the perfect player to add to the team and you let him go to the devils. Sorry Lou but I want you gone
No, Isles not dumb at all. 6×5 is a big overpay as it stands. OUTBIDDING it is insane.
AJ the Rastaman
EXACTLY. overpays (and this is a MASSIVE one) are poison in the salary cap world
Preds fans actually thought Poile was in on Palat, lol!
Phil Kessel, you wanna play in TN on a low ball contract? :/
Wish Pally the best, his quiet work ethic and team first play will be missed in Tampa.
He’s a true champ! Wish him the best of luck for his stint in New Jersey!
Do you guys need some reporting help on the west coast? I can write a quick “more to come” summary for you guys if you’re too tired. It was like 11 pm lol. The other news outlets weren’t sleeping. I went to PHR when the news hit but no dice!
Maybe these guys have other lives too? I mean, you might not but they probably have jobs, friends, and maybe even families and they write here for little to no pay?
Good for Palat; he earned it. Salary cap takes yet another cut at the Champions after being forced to trade McDonagh. Sad day in Tampa.
Severe overpay for a complimentary 31 year old winger. Tampa pays for future production, not past. You’ll finish behind them again the next few seasons as well.
AJ the Rastaman
i’m a Bolts fan.
Love Palat. and…
that’s an AWFUL signing.
although this isn’t vegas GM kelly mcrimmon level of terrible cap management, that is just a massive overpay for someone who isn’t great at anything AND… who will be 36-37 when the contract ends.
THIS… is why so many teams have no chance vs us before the games even start. we have not only the best goalie BY FAR… we have Brisebois, the best GM in the game.
Yeah. And I expect the Devils fans will be riding Palat like a bicycle. For $6MM AAV, they’re going to expect someone who’s a top-six scorer, and he just isn’t that. And Palat being a playoff beast does New Jersey not the slightest bit of good if *they don’t get into the playoffs in the first place*. Which they haven’t ten of the last twelve years.
It wouldn’t have been crazy for a contending team to give Palat $5MM for a couple of years. 6×5, this is just a buyout candidate three years from now.