You'd believe a player's resume would speak for itself, but it seems like it hasn't talked loud enough for veteran forward Chris Kunitz, who will be looking for a new team once again when the free agent market opens on July 1st.
Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has revealed that the team will not re-sign Kunitz in this offseason and will let him go. The veteran forward will have to go and seek his fifth Stanley Cup with a different team next season.
The 38-year-old is however not interested in hanging up the skates at the moment. While the Bolts will not offer him another contract, Yzerman made sure to tell other teams that Kunitz wants to keep playing.
"I've spoken with Chris, told him we're not going to be offering him a contract," Yzerman told reporters Friday in advance of the NHL draft. "He wants to continue to play. That was clear. He wants to play."
In advance of free agency, Yzerman revealed that he hopes to be able to sign all of the team's restricted free agents: forwards J.T. Miller, Cedric Paquette and Adam Erne, as well as defenseman Slater Koekkoek and netminder Louis Domingue. Earlier this month, Tampa Bay traded away goalie Peter Budaj to the Los Angeles Kings. Yzerman admitted that he would love to be able to have Domingue as his backup to Andrei Vasilevskiy in the upcoming season, with contract discussions but no agreement reached as of right now.
After the news broke, some people started wondering if Pittsburgh Penguins and general manager Jim Rutherford should consider bringing him back into the Pens' lineup for the upcoming campaign. Kunitz has already had great chemistry with captain Sidney Crosby and could accept a simple one-year, $1 million contract offer to join his former team.
Kunitz spent nine seasons with the Penguins before signing with the Lightning last summer on a one-year, $2 million. He tallied 13 goals and posted 29 points with the Lightning in 82 games this season, adding one assist in 17 postseason contests.
A four-time Stanley Cup champion, Kunitz is a veteran of 966 NHL contests and has registered 263 goals and 609 points in his career.
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