The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed restricted free agent forward Alexander Volkov. The deal is for one year at the league-minimum salary. This is the second consecutive day that Tampa has signed a player after retaining Erik Cernak and Jan Rutta on the 22nd. Agent Dan Milstein announced the extension Wednesday morning.
— Dan Milstein-Hockey (@HockeyAgent1) December 23, 2020
Lightning Re-Sign Alexander Volkov
Volkov was a spare player in 2019-20. He played in only nine games with one assist during the regular season and one scoreless game during the playoffs. Most of the then-22-year-old’s time was spent at the AHL level in Syracuse. That is where Volkov scored nine goals and 30 points in 46 games. Despite the small NHL sample, he still managed to get credit for 10 hits and finish the year with a respectable 50.7 Corsi For, but a -3.7 relative Corsi indicates someone who doesn’t contribute a great deal to the overall offence.
The Lightning originally drafted Volkov in the second round of the 2017 Draft. Most of his professional career beyond 2019-20 has been in the minor leagues, where Volkov has been solid. He has 55 career goals and 123 points in 195 AHL games. That includes the most recent season. His prospect report from 2019 describes a very good skater with speed and edgework. He also has some sniping ability thanks to an array of shots, but he needs more experience before he can succeed at the NHL level.
What to Expect from Volkov
Tampa Bay is very deep right now, so it’s hard to see an obvious spot for Volkov at the moment. However, the team is in a serious financial bind. They were roughly $5 million over the cap ceiling when the day began. They also signed Mathieu Joseph not longer after announcing Volkov. That pushes their current cap hit to $87.6 million as the season approaches with Anthony Cirelli as the final unsigned restricted free agent. They may get under the cap by shifting Nikita Kucherov to long-term injured reserve, but it’s still likely a trade is coming to get some extra breathing room.
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