Tampa Bay Lightning re-signs Slater Koekkoek to one-year deal

(Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek will be sticking around for another year as the team re-signs him to a one-year deal.

The Tampa Bay Lightning has been fairly quiet in terms of Free Agency. There are so many valuable players on the market and definitely a few pieces to the puzzle the Lightning could use to strengthen their roster prior to the start of the upcoming season.

However, before the Lightning can start looking around for new players to add to the roster, there is a bit of housekeeping which needs to be completed. There are a few current players who are set to become Free Agents and are in need of new contracts if they are going to be sticking around.

Earlier today, the Lightning made a move which will keep one of the more popular defensemen among fans here in the Bolts Nation for at least another year. The team announced in a Press Release on their official site the team has re-signed defenseman Slater Koekkoek to a one-year, one-way deal.

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For those of you who are unaware of the difference between a one-way contract and a two-way contract, a two-way contract is a deal where the player’s salary changes based on the league they are playing in. A one-way contract means their salary remains the same no matter which league they play for.

Given the fact the Lightning signed Koekkoek to a one-way contract, one could easily make the assumption the 24-year-old defenseman could be on track to play a bigger role on the Lightning roster next season. Needless to say, this would be music to the ears of the Bolts Nation.

Slater Koekkoek has proven himself to be an asset to the Lightning defense on more than one occasion. Unfortunately, he tends to consistently fall victim to the “healthy scratch” in lieu of players like defenseman Andrej Sustr, despite the fact Koekkoek puts up better numbers than Sustr on a consistent basis.

Considering Sustr is set to become an Unrestricted Free Agent, signing Koekkoek could be a clear-cut sign the Lightning organization is looking to move on from the Czech defenseman. Of course, this is merely speculation at this point. It will certainly be interesting to see how that situation plays out in the coming days.

Koekkoek was originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the First Round (10th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He made his NHL debut on March 31, 2015, as the Lightning took on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

There have been many obstacles in the road for Koekkoek to overcome over the course of his time with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but his game has steadily improved and he has gone above and beyond to prove his worth to the powers that be within the organization.

Next: Lightning re-signs Ryan McDonagh to 7-Year Deal

The opportunity has been laid out in front of him. Now, it’s time for Slater Koekkoek to go out there and show everyone why he deserves to be a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning roster now and in the future. Hopefully, he’ll actually be spending more time on the ice than in the Press Box.