Mar 19, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9) gets ready to take a face-off against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Lightning beat the Maple Leafs 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Johnson signs three-year deal with Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning rookie forward Tyler Johnson will avoid restricted free agency and has signed a three-year deal for $10 million, according to USA Today hockey writer Kevin Allen.

Johnson, 23, scored 24 goals and recorded 26 assists for a 50-point campaign in his first full season with the Lightning and was a plus-23 en route to being named a finalist for the Calder Trophy given to the NHL’s top rookie. Johnson also led the league with a remarkable five shorthanded goals.

The diminutive center, Johnson is 5-9 and weighs 182 pounds, had a big career in the WHL after going unsigned and put up 282 points in 266 games for the Spokane Chiefs, including a 115-point season in 2010-2011.

After a 68 and 65-point season with the Norfolk Admirals and Syracuse Crunch, respectively, Johnson finally got a chance to make an impression on the Lightning and the player who was criticized for his lack of size throughout his career came up huge for Tampa Bay this season, especially when they played without star forward Steven Stamkos.

Johnson is joined by teammate Ondrej Palat and Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche for the Calder Trophy which will be awarded at the NHL Awards show from Las Vegas on June 24th.



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