Ondrej Palat Leaves The Tampa Bay Lightning

Ondrej Palat signs
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The New Jersey Devils signed free agent left winger Ondrej Palat to a five-year contract worth $30 million, or $6 million per season. This contract carries him through the 2026-27 season. 

NHL free agent frenzy

Ondrej Palat Signs With The Devils

Over his 10-year NHL career, Palat has only played for the Tampa Bay Lightning. He has 143 goals and 280 assists for 423 career points in 628 career games. He was originally drafted in the seventh round, 208th overall, of the 2011 NHL draft by the Lightning. 

This past season, Palat scored 18 goals and 31 assists for 49 points in 77 games. He also added 20 minutes in penalties. His possession numbers were 54.1 percent Corsi and a relative Corsi of 4.3. The odds of Tampa Bay bringing back Palat were extremely low. After locking up Nick Paul to a seven-year contract, the odds became even slimmer. The Writing was really on the wall when Tampa re-signed three core players to long-term lucrative contracts. Despite trading away Ryan McDonagh in what was a salary cap dump, many Lightning fans were given a glimmer of hope. However, it wouldn’t come to be. As for New Jersey, they get a solid middle-six winger who has always produced modestly offensively in his career. 

What This Means For The Future

Unfortunately for the Devils and their fans, this is a bit of a consolation prize after losing out in the Johnny Gaudreau sweepstakes. Still, Ondrej Palat will bring a lot to the table. His game is predicated on the smaller details of the game. That includes strong forechecking, winning board battles, and playing a very responsible game all-around. Not only that, but he brings a winning pedigree and a proven playoff resume.

This is an essential signing for the Devils to build towards Cup contender status. While this contract is undoubtedly a large one, there are not many players around the league like him. Palat’s blend of size, smarts and skating is rare, and though the production may never match the dollar value, his leadership, winning pedigree and play style will open up the ice for the other stars on the team. Overall, it will make this team much, much better in the long haul.