Apr 8, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18) reacts after he scores a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Ondrej Palat Signs Three-Year Extension In Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman locked up another young player on Monday morning, signing Czech forward Ondrej Palat to a three-year deal worth $10 million.

The deal prevents Palat from going to restricted free agency, and is identical to the one signed by fellow rookie and Calder Trophy finalist Tyler Johnson on May 23.

The 23-year-old Palat made the Lightning out of training camp this season and became an important piece of the team, putting up 59 points in 81 games after a great playoff run with the Syracuse Crunch in 2012-13, where he posted 26 points in 18 games.

He was also part of the Calder Cup-winning Norfolk Admirals squad in 2011-12, led by current Lightning head coach Jon Cooper.

Palat also participated in the Sochi Olympics for the Czech Republic, an impressive development curve for a seventh-round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft.

From Yzerman’s perspective, it’s another team-friendly deal to help develop the young Tampa Bay core, and he’ll still be a restricted free agent once this contract ends.

With Palat, Johnson, Steven Stamkos, Valtteri Filppula, and Alex Killorn firmly entrenched on the roster right now, and Richard Panik, J.T. Brown, and 2013 first-round pick Jonathan Drouin all looking to crack the full-time roster (no time spent in the AHL), along with two more first-round picks in this year’s draft, Tampa Bay has one of the most impressive young forward pipelines in the NHL, and locking up Palat allows them to further continue developing together.

Tags: Ondrej Palat Tampa Bay Lightning

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