The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed restricted free agent left wing Ruslan Fedotenko to a one-year, $1.65 million contract, Executive Vice President & General Manager Jay Feaster announced today.
Fedotenko, 27, appeared in 80 games for the Lightning during the 2005-06 season, recording a career-high 26 goals and 41 points with 44 penalty minutes. After three seasons with the Lightning he's tied for fifth on the franchise list for game-winning goals with 15. More than 24 percent of his goals with Tampa Bay have been game-winners, almost six percentage points better than any other current Lightning forward. He also ranks 17th on the franchise list with 112 points.
"In a perfect world we would have liked to sign Ruslan to a long-term contract," Feaster said. "However, our reality in the salary cap era is that we simply do not have the cap space available right now to be buying out multiple years of unrestricted free agency. Both sides recognized that arbitration was an option and, coming off a 26-goal season, Ruslan was well-positioned for a successful arb case. This contract is fair for both sides and enables us to avoid the unpleasantness of salary arbitration while also ensuring that Ruslan will be in Camp and ready to go to start the season."
The 6-foot-2, 196-pound native of Kiev, Ukraine's most memorable moment with Tampa Bay was during the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when he finished tied for second in league goal scoring (12 goals) and scored both goals in Tampa Bay's Cup-clinching, 2-1 victory against Calgary in Game 7 of the Finals.
Acquired on June 21, 2002 from Philadelphia, Fedotenko has tallied 95 goals and 174 points in 385 career NHL games with the Lightning and Flyers, with an additional 13 goals and 17 points in 49 post-season contests. He appeared in the 2002 Winter Olympics for Ukraine and scored a goal against Switzerland. Originally signed as a free agent by the Flyers on August 3, 1999, Fedotenko finished the 2000-01 season tied for fifth among NHL rookies with 36 points.