Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has been very busy lately, locking up another young, key player in forward Alex Killorn Thursday morning.
Expected to pay 2.4 and 2.7 million over the next two years, the deal keeps Killorn from becoming a restricted free agent, and helps the Lightning’s top-six forward core remain intact. At 24 years old, Killorn was a vital piece of the team’s second place finish in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division by putting up 17 goals and 41 points in his first full NHL season. He then added a goal and two points in Tampa Bay’s first round playoff loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
Killorn was also part of the Calder Cup-winning Norfolk Admirals team, led by current Lightning coach Jon Cooper, back in 2011-12′.
A product of Harvard University, Killorn took the fast track to NHL stardom. About two weeks into the lockout-shortened 2013 season he made his big league debut, nearly a year after leaping from college to the AHL. Pretty impressive for a third round pick (77th overall) in the 2007 NHL Draft.
From Yzerman’s perspective, this is a deal that fits his vision of building the Lightning into a perennial playoff, and championship, contender for years to come.
With rookies Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson just re-signed, plus Steven Stamkos, Valtteri Filppula, 2013 3rd overall pick Jonathan Drouin and now Killorn signed for at least a few more years, the Lightning have the pieces in place to contend for a Stanley Cup sooner rather than later.