Today, the Tampa Bay Lightning make their first moves of the off-season by keeping three familiar faces in town. Those three players are J.T. Brown, Cedric Paquette, and Luke Witkowski. Brown and Paquette receive the same deal, which are both two-year, one-way deals, and Witkowski’s deal is a one-year, but two-way deal. Vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced all three deals today.
Now, Brown, who is 25 years old, looked like he improved, as he was more consistent and a more of a threat to score, but his physicality and heart was a major key for this team. The forward skated in 78 games this year, which he notched eight goals and 22 points to go along with 59 penalty minutes, which some of those penalty minutes were due to fighting. He is the team’s enforcer. He was tied third on the Bolts with a plus 16 rating. Brown also set career bests for games played, goals, points, plus/minus and penalty minutes this past season.
In addition, Cedric Paquette skated in 56 games with the Lightning last season where he recording six goals and 11 points to go along with 137 team hits, which he was ranked second on the team behind Ryan Callahan. The 6-foot-1, 199-pound forward was one of five Lightning players to notch a shorthanded tally last season and he scored one game winner.
Finally, those two are locks to make the Lightning roster, but watch Luke Witkowski make the team, as he has done his dues in the AHL, which he played well when called upon for the Lightning and he did just that especially in the 2014-2015 season. In that season he averaged 15.11 minutes on the ice in 16 games.