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Lightning Sign Cernak and Rutta to New Multi-Year Contracts

The Tampa Bay Lighting have re-signed two players on Tuesday. Jan Rutta and Erik Cernak have new deals.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have announced the signing of two key players to their organization on Tuesday. First, they announced the team had re-signed Erik Cernak to a three-year contract worth $2.95 million AAV and they followed that up seconds later, saying they have also re-signed Jan Rutta for two years worth an AAV of $1.3 million.

Related: Tampa Bay Lightning Working on Two Big Trades

The Lighting are a team that has a lot of work to do in terms of the salary cap and in an effort to get under the ceiling for the 2020-21 season. Part of the reason these players were taking so long to get signed was because of the uncertainty around being able to get everything done and without a plan to clear space.

Earlier this week, it was announced that Nikita Kucherov might have to go on LTIR with a hip issue and while these two things may not be directly connected, the timing seems to suggest as much.

Cernak was discussed as a potential offer sheet candidate this offseason, but in the end, the Lightning get a deal done and at a price that seems like it’s a pretty fair value for a serviceable player. He’s a two-year NHLer but a good young defensive defenceman has put up just 10 goals and 18 assists for 28 career points in 125 career games played. He was originally drafted in the second round, 43rd overall of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Kings.

Rutta has also been in the NHL for two seasons, both with the Lightning. In 47 regular season games played, he has 9 points. He’s added 10 games of playoff experience as well.

Lightning Still Have Work to Do

The Cernak and Rutta signings take Tampa to $87.65 million payroll, well over $81.5 million cap. They are within $1.99 million of the offseason limit and still have to re-sign RFA Anthony Cirelli.

This means that either other moves are coming or announcements will be made that players are being moved, juggled around or placed on LTIR.

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