Ondrej Palat signs 5-year contract with Devils

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JUNE 05: Ondrej Palat #18 of the Tampa Bay Lightning is awarded the first start of the game against the New York Rangers in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on June 05, 2022

The song ‘Sweet Caroline’ may hit a nerve among Bolts’ fans for a while.

Former Lightning forward Ondrej Palat has signed with the New Jersey Devils. The 31-year-old inked a 5-year, $30-million deal.

The left-winger had 52 points in 71 games during Tampa Bay’s three consecutive trips to the Cup Final. He finished sixth in Conn Smythe Trophy voting as playoff MVP this year.

Tampa Bay attempted to keep the 31-year-old from Czechia and defenseman Jan Rutta, who signed with Pittsburgh, but couldn’t make the salary cap numbers work. Instead, general manager Julien BriseBois signed defensemen Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak and center Anthony Cirelli to eight-year extensions through 2031.

MORE: Lightning sign Sergachev, Cirelli and Cernak to eight-year extensions

Palat will be a veteran presence in a group of young forwards on that team. 

He and the Devils will return to Amalie Arena on March 19, 2023. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report