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Lightning land Ondrej Palat for five years, $26.5M

Tampa Bay Lightning v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Two

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 16: Ondrej Palat #18 of the Tampa Bay Lightning looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Consol Energy Center on May 16, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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It sounds like the Tampa Bay Lightning locked up the last of “The Triplets” and overcame the last, big salary cap hurdle in their way. At least until Nikita Kucherov’s ridiculous bargain dries up.

FanRag’s Craig Morgan and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman report that Ondrej Palat agreed to a five-year contract with a $5.3 million cap hit on Friday. That would shake out to a total of $26.5 million overall.

Not long after, the Lightning confirmed the deal and the terms.

Morgan specified the yearly breakdown of the reported agreement, which includes some lockout protection and allows the two sides to avoid salary arbitration:

Palat, 26, basically falls in line with Tyler Johnson (seven years at a slightly lower $5M cap hit) and Nikita Kucherov (an absurd $4.77M, though that bargain runs out after 2018-19), the two forwards he really broke through with as “The Triplets.” Those three scrambled around the lineup since, especially during the injury-ravaged 2016-17 campaign.

While this past season inspires at least a bit of concern in locking up just about every major player (at least after trading away Jonathan Drouin), the overall picture is still quite sunny for the Lightning.

For the most part, GM Steve Yzerman continues to look ... almost as legendary as executive as he was as a player. Maybe he’ll do something with the Lightning’s extra $3 million-ish in cap space and then enjoy a well-earned break?