Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Lightning Find Value by Signing Erik Condra to Three-Year Contract

The Tampa Bay Lightning signed former Ottawa Senators forward Erik Condra to a three-year contract worth $1.25MM per season this morning:

The 28-year-old forward spent the first five years of his NHL career in Canada's capital, after being drafted by the Senators in the 7th round of the 2006 draft. Playing largely in a bottom-six (fourth line) role over the last few seasons, Condra performed admirably for an Ottawa team that consistently surpassed expectations.

A versatile winger who can help the Lightning's weak penalty killing unit, Condra scored nine goals and 23 points in 2014-15. The addition of Condra likely means that Brenden Morrow, who is an unrestricted free agent, won't be back in Tampa next season. It would be hard to describe the Condra-for-Morrow swap as anything but an upgrade.

As far as value signings go, this Condra deal really looks to be the cream of the crop. The $1.25MM price tag is hardly unmanageable for this Tampa Bay squad, even if the three-year term might sound long for a fourth line forward. Condra is the type of player savvy teams need to be looking for in today's cap world. While his goals/assists splits scream fourth line, his ability to drive possession at a very good rate makes him a valuable piece.

He's not a scorer, as that chart shows.  He is, however, a guy who drives possession like a top-six forward.  My simplistic take on the situation is that he'll be everything on the ice that the team wanted Morrow to be.  He won't score tons of goals, but they don't need him to do that; they have Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, et al. to fill the net.  Condra can be counted on as a defensive presence.  He'll help keep the puck out of Tampa's net at even strength by pushing the puck up ice.  He'll help on the penalty kill, which is something Morrow couldn't do.  No matter how you look at it, this is an upgrade for Tampa Bay.

And, it's not like Condra was being carried by the great Ottawa Senators:

Instead of being sucked in by the 'frenzy' in Free Agent Frenzy, Steve Yzerman and the Tampa Bay Lightning went searching for value today.  They found it in the form of Erik Condra.  This is a fantastic signing for the Lightning, even if a three-year term might feel a bit long for a fourth-line forward.  The dollar value is manageable, and Condra will help them.  On July 1st, when things can often get out of hand, that's about all you can ask for.  This is a fine bit of work by Steve Yzerman.

Thanks for reading.

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