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Erik Cernak and Tampa Bay Lightning Agree on Extension

Erik Cernak

The Tampa Bay Lightning and defenceman Erik Cernak have agreed on a contract extension. Cernak’s new deal is a three- year deal worth $8.85 million. It carries a salary-cap hit of $2.95 million per season. This contract carries him through the 2022-23 season. In addition to Cernak, the Lightning also announced that Jan Rutta to a two-year deal with a salary cap hit of $1.3 million.

Tampa Bay Holds onto Erik Cernak

Cernak has spent his short two year NHL career with the Tampa Bay organization. The young defensive defenceman has put up just 10 goals and 18 assists for 28 career points in 125 career games played. He was originally drafted in the second round, 43rd overall of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Kings.

After one season in the American Hockey League, back in 2017-18. Cernak earned his call-up to the Lightning the following season. Since then, Cernak has been a regular on the back end in Tampa Bay. This past season, he scored five goals and seven assists for 12 points. On top of that, he added 59 minutes in penalties which left him second on the team. His possession numbers were 50.5 percent Corsi and a relative Corsi of -2.7.

Cernak also recorded four assists in 25 post-season games on route to a Stanley Cup Championship.

What This Means for the Future

Looking down the line, this is a fantastic keep by the Lighting and general manager Julien BriseBois. Erik Cernak is a big defenceman with tons of strength. Even though he’s only 23-years old, he comes off as a grizzled veteran on the ice. While his skating ability isn’t the highlight of his game. His play in the defensive-zone makes up for that. With a defensive zone start of 52.8 percent and fourth on the team in defensive point share at 3.1. Cernak is extremely responsible and reliable in front of the net.

Built for the playoffs, Cernak embraces the physical game and never shy’s away from an opponent. After winning the 2020 Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay, Cernak will be heading into just his third NHL season with nowhere to go but up.

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