The Tampa Bay Lightning struck a deal with restricted free agent Tanner Jeannot for two-years at $2,665,000 per year. It saves the two sides from officially going to arbitration and all but solidifies the roster for 2023-24, with roughly $1.4 million in cap space left (assuming they send Philippe Myers down to Syracuse) to sign one more forward, if they so choose.
But given his lack of production last season, with both Tampa and Nashville, spending over $2.6 million on a guy that had 18 points last season seems a tad high.
That doesn’t mean Jeannot has impossible expectations in front of him to live up to that contract.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Within reach
Keep in mind that one of the reasons Tampa swung for the fences with Jeannot is that he had 24 goals in 2021-22 and is one of the most physical forwards in the league. He fits the exact mold that Yanni Gourde, Blake Coleman, Barclay Goodrow, Nick Paul, and Brandon Hagel all fit.
Jeannot’s 24 goals in 2021-22 weren’t realistically sustainable, as he had a shooting percentage of 17.17 during 5 v 5 play. The Tampa Bay Lightning as a team had a shooting percentage of 8.79 this past season during 5 v 5 play.
But according to Natural Stat Trick, his individual expected goals in both 2021-22 and 2022-23 were 11 during 5 v 5 play. And if Tanner Jeannot can settle in at 11 goals with, let’s say 15 assists, that would put him right in line with players like Oskar Sundqvist of St. Louis and Warren Foegele of Edmonton. Both of those players were on a $2,750,000 deal last season as part of an RFA deal they had signed.
So what kind of season does he need to have?
When looking at the ten players from last season that were on an RFA deal and made between $2.3 million and $2.8 million, the absolute floor Jeannot is going to need to produce in 2023-24 to not be a bust for Tampa is 30 points.
If you really want to drive a narrative, given what Tampa gave up in their trade to acquire Jeannot, it’s not unfair to want a 40-point season.
Just remember that Jeannot is in Tampa for his physicality as much as he is for his ability to score, and the physicality won’t be fully appreciated until the playoffs.
Because his deal is only for two years, his contract won’t break the Lightning if he doesn’t live up to expectations. But if Jeannot can have a Brandon Hagel like rebound, his contract can actually become a steal.