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McDonagh signs seven-year extension with Lightning

Defenseman could have become free agent after this season, gets $6.75 million annually @NHLdotcom

Ryan McDonagh signed a seven-year contract extension with an average annual value of $6.75 million with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday.

The 29-year-old defenseman will play the final season of a six-year contract he signed with the New York Rangers on July 8, 2013. He could have become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

"We got traded here and had great discussions with [general manager Steve Yzerman] about me playing and where I fit in with the team," McDonagh said. "More importantly, you get your family down there and you get to play in a long playoff run and really get a taste and a feel of the atmosphere and everything that goes on living in the city. So it's not like I'm signing an extension with a team I've never been to. That really give you a lot of comfort go forward, knowing that it's a great situation in all angles. Hockey-wise, city and everything it has to offer, family-wise … it's the total package for where I'm at now in my career and where my family is at."


[RELATED: NHL Free Agent Tracker]


McDonagh had two goals and an assist in 14 games for Tampa Bay last season after he was acquired in a trade from New York with forward J.T. Miller on Feb. 26 for forward Vladislav Namestnikov, two prospects and two draft picks.

"It was really difficult for me actually because I was still hurt with my hand injury, so I couldn't play until 10 games in, but once I got my feet back underneath me and we were heading full steam into the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs, it definitely felt like I could help the team be successful," McDonagh said. "It only helps having great depth on our back end."

Video: McDonagh on his contract extension with the Lightning

The No. 12 pick by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2007 NHL Draft, McDonagh has 241 points (53 goals, 188 assists) and a plus-142 rating in 530 games for the Rangers and Lightning, and 46 points (10 goals, 36 assists) in 113 NHL playoff games.

"We really like his two-way game, we really like the fact he's big and strong, a strong skater," Yzerman said. "We especially like the character of the person. When he came in, we felt he made us a better team, we knew he made us a better team. When we traded for him, the idea was to sign him and keep him here beyond next year, and we were able to reach agreement on a contract."

McDonagh, who the Rangers acquired in a trade from the Canadiens on June 30, 2009, had NHL career highs in goals (14) and points (43) in 2013-14.

"The team in Tampa [Bay] right now is so deep, so talented and so skilled," McDonagh said. "I can say we have so much depth, we can roll all our lines and keep playing at a good pace and keep everybody fresh as we go through the season. For me personally, I still feel like I can get stronger and get better every summer working on different things that I need to keep improving on. Certainly now that I've been able to get a taste of what Tampa's system is and their style is, [that's] going to help me this summer going into next season."

Miller, 27, signed a five-year, $26.25 million contract with the Lightning on June 26.

Tampa Bay lost the Eastern Conference Final to the Washington Capitals, who went on to win the Stanley Cup.

"When you look at the grand scheme of things, we lost one game, Game 7, where we could have been in the [Stanley Cup Final]," McDonagh said. "If there's anything that I can look forward to is that we will have a similar team to last year. The management told us that we got this far with this group and it's not going to change too much. We will have the majority of the same players back, so we can improve and have a really good summer of training and give ourselves another chance to get over that hump." correspondent Corey Long contributed to this report.

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