The Tampa Bay Lightning have announced the signing of forward Cory Conacher to a one-year, one-way contract worth $575,000.


TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Cory Conacher to a one-year, one-way contract worth $575,000, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Conacher, 26, has skated in 141 career NHL games with three different teams over three seasons, posting 19 goals and 58 points to go along with 84 penalty minutes. He had his most successful NHL stint with the Bolts during the 2012-13 season, recording nine goals and 24 points in 35 games. In his first six NHL games while playing for the Lightning, Conacher collected five goals and 12 points. Conacher was traded by the Lightning, along with a 2013 fourth-round draft pick, to the Ottawa Senators for goaltender Ben Bishop on April 3, 2013.

The Burlington, Ontario native played in 48 games with Bern SC of the Swiss-A league during the 2015-16 season, collecting a team-best 22 goals and 52 points in his first season with the club. Conacher also registered five goals and nine points in 14 playoff games, helping Bern win the National League A title. Last season, he also played for Team Canada at the Spengler Cup and helped them capture the title while be named to the tournament’s all-star team.

The 5-foot-8, 182-pound forward has appeared in 166 career American Hockey League games, recording 67 goals and 153 points. Conacher set career highs during the 2011-12 AHL season, posting 39 goals and 80 points in 75 games with the Norfolk Admirals, the Lightning’s top affiliate. That season, Conacher led the Admirals to a Calder Cup Championship and was awarded the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL’s regular season MVP.

Conacher went undrafted and originally signed as a free agent with the Bolts on March 3, 2012.

When Steve Yzerman traded Conacher, he was coming off a scorching start to his NHL career. I think seeing that there was a possibility of Conacher falling off as well as the forward riches in the system and the need for a goaltender, Yzerman struck when the iron was hot in trading Conacher for Ben Bishop. That trade will go down as a defining moment in Lightning history and Yzerman’s legacy.

After bouncing around and not doing very well in the NHL and spending time back in the AHL, Conacher went to Switzerland to rebuild some value. Bern SC was a good team and Conacher was in the hunt for the points lead the entire season ending up fourth in the race.

Conacher is an interesting signing for the Lightning. He is guaranteed $575,000 weather he plays in the NHL or the AHL. He could be viewed as top six insurance in case of injury. He could be viewed as a power play specialist. Or he could just be viewed as depth that will be sent through waivers after training camp.

If Conacher makes the team out of training camp, it could mean that someone like Cedric Paquette or Erik Condra is on their way out. It could also keep several prospects like Tanner Richard or Joel Vermin from making the team out of camp.

The other possibility is that Vladislav Namestnikov is on his way out and that Conacher is essentially his replacement as a skilled bottom six player that can spot in the top six. It would be great to see a resurgence for Conacher this year. He was an exciting player to watch, with speed and tenacity despite his small size.