We have signed Cal Foote to a two-year, one-way contract worth $850,000 AAV.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) July 29, 2021
Cal Foote Gets Two-Year Deal
After getting into 35 regular-season games, Foote undoubtedly hopes to join the Lightning for a playoff run in 2021-22. The 22-year old rookie was Tampa Bay’s first-round pick in 2017, but the team’s depth let them wait on his debut until this year. It’s a one-way deal, so even if the team does decide he needs a bit more cooking, he’ll be getting 10 times more money to hone his skills with Syracuse. But he won’t want to wait – and really shouldn’t.
His first season with the club was in heavily sheltered minutes, averaging out to just under 13 minutes a night. That includes second-unit shorthanded time, so it seems obvious how he’ll find a career in Tampa Bay. And so far, he’s passing that test well enough to earn another shot.
What This Means
Foote has been in the minors for two full seasons, finally breaking through this year. In his 35 NHL games, Foote scored just one goal and three points. That, however, is hardly unexpected. What the coaches are more interested in is how well the former junior scorer plays his position. Tampa has plenty of scoring on the blue line, including the 23-year old Mikhail Sergachev. What they could use from Foote is a clone of his father Adam Foote. The senior Foote parlayed a solid defensive presence into two Stanley Cup championship rings, Giving Cal something to aim for.
The Lightning still have a long way to go before they are out of the salary cap crunch their fans dread. But small, efficient deals like this one will go a long way to reassuring them that there’s a plan in place. And a succession one.