Nick Paul passed his 21-game audition with the Tampa Bay Lightning. On Friday, the Bolts inked their restricted free agent to a seven-year $22.05 million contract.
Tampa Bay acquired Paul from the Ottawa Senators at the trade deadline in exchange for Mathieu Joseph and a fourth-round pick.
After accumulating just 66 points through his first 227 games in the league with the Sens, Paul recorded 14 points in 21 regular season games in Tampa. The former fourth-round pick added nine points in the postseason, including both goals in the Lightning’s Game 7 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in the opening round.
Paul’s improved play is also reflected in his advanced metrics. Across all strengths, his expected goals-for rating jumped from 42.1% with the Sens to 49.2% with the Bolts. The most notable difference was improved offensive efficiency, with Paul’s on-ice shooting percentage increasing to 11.6%, nearly double the 5.9% mark he had in Ottawa.
Earlier this week, the Bolts’ two-year Stanley Cup run ended against the Colorado Avalanche. Still, they remain near the top of the futures board for next year’s championship, currently priced at +1000, per FanDuel Sportsbook.