Veteran goaltender Maxime Lagace has had no trouble getting contracts in recent summers, locking in one-year, two-way deals fairly early in free agency in each of the last five seasons. However, he has opted to go a different route this time around as Farjestad of the SHL announced that they’ve signed Lagace to contract for the 2023-24 season.
The 30-year-old has spent the last two seasons with Tampa Bay, primarily with their AHL affiliate. After being one of the stronger goalies at the minor league level in previous years, Lagace struggled this past season, notching a 3.34 GAA with a .888 SV%, his poorest numbers since the 2016-17 campaign. This was also just the second time in the last six seasons that Lagace didn’t see any NHL action; the bulk of his playing time at the top level came back with Vegas in their inaugural year.
Lagace’s signing amounts to a trade of sorts. Earlier this offseason, Tampa Bay lured away Matt Tomkins from his contract with Farjestad, inking him to a two-year, two-way contract. That move effectively pushed Lagace out of a job in Syracuse as Tomkins will work with prospect Hugo Alnefelt next season. In the end, it’s Lagace who winds up with Tomkins’ old job. If things go well for him in Sweden in 2023-24, it’s quite possible that Lagace could look to return to North America and resume his familiar third-string role if he wants to try to get another taste of NHL action.