A former up-and-coming, top-pairing fill-in for the Tampa Bay Lightning has signed a two-year extension in Czechia. Defenseman Jake Dotchin will continue with Rytíři Kladno of the Tipsport Extraliga for two seasons, as the team announced today.
Dotchin, a sixth-round draft pick of the Lightning in 2012, broke into the NHL in 2016-17 when injuries limited the Lightning to missing the playoffs entirely. He played 35 games with the Lightning that year, notching 11 assists and notably saw time with Victor Hedman on the team’s top pair. It earned him a two-year contract extension to keep him within the organization.
As the Lightning regained their elite status as a team, Dotchin saw only 48 games in 2017-18 as he remained a full-time member of the NHL club. Then, as Dotchin reported for camp prior to the 2018-19 season, the Lightning terminated his contract, citing a material breach of contract. It was later reported that Dotchin had shown up to camp extremely out of shape and was not fit for game action. Dotchin did sign with the Anaheim Ducks but played only 20 NHL games that year before seeing only AHL action in 2019-20. He sat out from professional hockey entirely during the COVID-stricken 2020-21 season before signing with Kladno last year.
Dotchin scored 21 points in 50 games this past season with Kladno and tallied 98 penalty minutes as well. He scored an additional goal and four assists in five qualification games to help Kladno stay in the top-tier Czech league for one more season. He’ll remain a core part of that Kladno team for the foreseeable future, possibly alongside former NHL stars Jaromir Jagr and Tomas Plekanec, who were both active for the club last year. Regardless, considering Dotchin will be 30 at the expiry of the contract, it likely marks a clear end to his NHL career.