(Photo via Tampa Bay Lightning)
By Jake Ricker
Nick Paul is Back! The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed F Nick Paul to a $22.05 million contract extension for seven years ($3.15M AAV). Paul will have a full no trade clause for the first 4 years and then a 16 team no trade clause for years 5-7.
Julien BriseBois said he wanted to bring back all of the UFAs, and he got to work much more quickly than most expected. This is a fantastic signing for the Lighting for a number of reasons but the bottom line is he is able to play his role very well and has clearly bought into the team's philosophy.
While Paul has only been with the Lightning since the trade deadline, he has made a huge impact on the team. For starters, his work ethic has been unmatched by anyone else on the team. There were countless plays this postseason where Paul fended off multiple defenders to keep the puck in the offensive zone while his linemates made a change. He not only proved to be an effective player on the penalty kill but also a good goal scorer as well. There is no doubt that Paul has more than proven his value to the Lightning.
On the penalty kill, Paul had one goal and one assist and was only on the ice for seven goals against during the PK. He was often involved in many of the Lightning shorthanded chances and was able to put pressure on the opposing team when they needed to change. Paul was also decent in defensive zone faceoffs winning 50% of the drawls. He had two blocked shots and four takeaways on the penalty kill as well.
In 21 games played, Paul scored five goals and had nine assists for a total of 14 points. Just six less than he had last season with Ottowa. This was Pauls's first year in the playoffs, and in 23 games played, he scored five goals and had four assists for a total of nine points. Two of those goals came in game seven against the Toronto Maple Leafs, which the Lightning won 2-1 to advance to the second round. So he can not only score but come through in big moments when the pressure is on.
Paul is now entering his 8th NHL season, and he is now only entering the prime of his career. At 27 years old, he has plenty of good hockey left in him. Playing with the Lightning should help Paul reach his full potential, and Lighting fans have already gotten a glimpse of that. With Paul re-signed, the Lighting now just have Palat, Rutta, and Nash on the main roster left to attend to.
Let us know your thoughts on the Paul signing in the comments below and who you want to be re-signed next. Be sure to follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on all offseason news regarding the Lightning.
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