Brayden Point signed a three-year, $20.25 million contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday, but the forward is expected to miss the start of the regular season after having hip surgery in the spring, general manager Julien BriseBois said.
"At this point, and throughout, it was always projected that he would be cleared to play at some point in late October," BriseBois said. "So even though we are very happy that we were able to get a deal done here and Brayden will be joining the team on Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale, we don't expect him to play in any preseason games. We don't expect him to be ready for the opener.
"But having him around, just being with his teammates, practicing with them and getting daily treatment from our superb staff here ... all that will benefit him and our team. Hopefully, we'll get Brayden back in the lineup as quickly as possible."
BriseBois said Point has been skating for a few weeks and will wear a no-contact jersey when he joins the Lightning for practice.
The contract for the 23-year-old, who was a restricted free agent, has an annual average value of $6.75 million.
"He is the consummate professional with an unwavering commitment to team success, growing as a player and improving every day," BriseBois said. "It is that mindset that makes him an outstanding role model, teammate and person, on and off the ice."
Point, who is not expected to have any long-term effects from the surgery, according to BriseBois, led the NHL with 20 power-play goals last season. His 41 goals were tied with Nikita Kucherov for second on the Lightning behind Steven Stamkos (45), and his 92 points were third behind Kucherov (128) and Stamkos (98). Point's plus-27 rating led Lightning forwards, and he had NHL career highs in goals, assists (51) and points.
Point had one goal in four games in the Lightning's loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Eastern Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
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Selected by the Lightning in the third round (No. 79) of the 2014 NHL Draft, Point has 198 points (91 goals, 107 assists) in 229 regular-season games and 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in 21 playoff games.
Forwards Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor of the Winnipeg Jets, Mikko Rantanen of the Colorado Avalanche and Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames are among the remaining restricted free agents, with the NHL regular season starting Oct. 2.
NHL.com independent correspondent Corey Long contributed to this report