It is being reported by Craig Custance on Twitter that Vladislav Namestnikov has re-signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning on a two-year contract for $1.9375 million dollars. Namestnikov was scheduled to go to an arbitration hearing on Friday. We’ll update when we have official word from the team.

[Update: The Lightning have made the signing of Namestnikov official.]

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Vladislav Namestnikov to a two-year contract worth an annual average of $1,937,500-million per season, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Namestnikov, 23, skated in 80 games with the Lightning during the 2015-16 season, collecting 14 goals and 35 points to go along with 45 penalty minutes. The Zhukovskiy, Russia native set career highs this past season for games played, goals, assists, points and plus/minus (plus-17). Namestnikov ranked second on the Bolts for plus/minus, tied for fourth for goals and seventh for points. He registered his first career NHL hat trick on January 15 this past season against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound forward has appeared in 127 career NHL games, posting 23 goals and 51 points to go along with 62 penalty minutes. Namestnikov has also played in 29 career Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Lightning, recording a goal and four points. He skated in 17 playoff games with the Lightning in 2016, collecting a goal and three points.

Namestnikov was originally drafted by the Lightning in the first round, 27th overall, at the 2011 NHL Draft.

Recently, I had been speculating that Namestnikov could be seeking a deal of around $2.5 million per year likely for two years. With his production last season and his potential, that would have been a fair salary for the young center. Getting him for just under $2 million a year is going to look like a fantastic deal at the end of this year and into next year.

With this signing, the Lightning are left with about $5.7 million in cap space to sign Nikita Kucherov and Nikita Nesterov. My best guess is that the Lightning will need to clear at least $2 million in cap space before the beginning of the year to fit both of those players as well as the injury replacement required for Ryan Callahan and another recall assuming a roster player with salary is moved.

With Namestnikov’s arbitration case settled, in two days, another buyout period will open up. While General Manager Steve Yzerman has indicated that a buyout has not been considered, if there is no other option on the trade market that makes sense to him, a buyout of a player like Valtteri Filppula could be the only option to make space.

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