Devils, Ondrej Palat agree to five-year, $30M contract

Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18) celebrates scoring against the Detroit Red Wings in the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, in Detroit. (Paul Sancya/AP)

Free-agent forward Ondrej Palat has agreed to a five-year, $30-million contract with the New Jersey Devils.

Palat has been a clutch performer for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the post-season, helping the team reach the Final this year after winning the Stanley Cup the previous two years.

Over the past three post-seasons, Palat has 27 goals and 25 assists in 71 playoff games.

The 31-year-old native of the Czech Republic had 18 goals and 31 assists in 77 games last season. Originally a seventh-round pick in 2011, he has been a core member of the Lightning since a breakout campaign in 2013-14.

The Lightning cleared some cap space in an effort to keep Palat by trading Ryan McDonagh to the Nashville Predators last weekend.

While they were unable to reach an agreement, the Lightning were busy on the first day of free agency when they signed Anthony Cirelli, Erik Cernak and Mikael Sergachev each to eight-year extensions.

Palat will add another offensive element to the upcoming Devils, who are anchored by centres Jack Hughes and Nico Hilscher.

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