Lightning sign forward Nick Paul to seven-year contract

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning have addressed one of their priorities this offseason, the file of forward Nick Paul.

The club signed him to a seven-year contract worth just over US$22 million.

General manager Julien BriseBois announced the deal on Friday, three days after saying the club was interested in retaining the services of Paul and two other important free agents – striker Ondrej Palat and defender Jan Rutta.

Paul joined the Lightning on a trade from the Ottawa Senators in March. The 27-year-old played multiple roles, helping the Lightning reach the Stanley Cup Finals for a third straight year.

The Colorado Avalanche obstructed the Lightning’s bid for a third straight title, capturing the Stanley Cup in six games.

Paul, who will average $3.15 million under his new contract, had five goals and four assists in his first playoff appearance. He filled various roles while Brayden Point was sidelined with a quadriceps muscle injury for most of the 23 playoff games.

Paul played 21 regular season games with the Lightning, scoring five goals and nine assists. He made his playoff debut against the Toronto Maple Leafs and scored his first two goals there in a 2-1 win over the Lightning in Game 7 of the first-round series.

Paul, who earned $1.35 million last season, also scored twice against the Avalanche in the final.

A fourth-round pick of the Dallas Stars in 2013, Paul spent seven seasons with the Senators before being traded to the Florida club for Mattieu Joseph and a fourth-round pick in the 2024 draft.

He appeared in a total of 80 games with the Lightning and Senators, setting career highs in games, goals (16), assists (16) and points (32). He has 34 goals and 80 points in 248 games since making his NHL debut in February 2016.

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