Lightning forward Ondrej Palat, he of the newly signed five-year, $26.5 million deal, is back home in his native Czech Republic participating in his summer workout routine and eager for the start of training camp. Seems the Lightning players are not too keen on this long offseason, made possible because they failed to qualify for the postseason for the first time in three years. "I think guys will be rested," Palat said in a phone interview Wednesday. And, he added, ready. "It was an experience for us last year because we came from two good (playoff) runs and we thought we were going to make the playoffs just like that, and it didn't happen," he said. "In the NHL we have to play good from the beginning of the season, and we have to be good all season long." Toward that end, general manager Steve Yzerman has retooled the roster this offseason, trading forward Jonathan Drouin, the third overall pick in the 2013 draft, to Montreal for top defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev, then adding forward Chris Kunitz and defenseman Dan Girardi in free agency. Kunitz, who has won four Stanley Cups (one with Anaheim, three with Pittsburgh), and Girardi, a former Ranger, have played in a combined 283 postseason games. Kunitz, fresh off back-to-back Stanley Cup wins with the Penguins, has played in 161 of them.
Lightning's Ondrej Palat happy with new deal, new talent
Tampa Bay Times | Jul 21