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Former Spokane Chief standout Tyler Johnson waived by Stanley Cup champion Lightning

UPDATED: Fri., Oct. 9, 2020

Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9) before an NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)  (Associated Press)
Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9) before an NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) (Associated Press)
By Dan Thompson For The Spokesman-Review

Tyler Johnson’s eight-year tenure with the Tampa Bay Lightning has apparently ended on a high note.

The Spokane native was waived Friday by the only NHL team for which he has played, less than two weeks after Johnson and the Lightning won the franchise’s second Stanley Cup and its first since 2004.

If a team claims him, the move would relieve the Lightning of his $5 million cap hit for the next four seasons and gives Johnson the opportunity to play elsewhere, one year from when the Seattle Kraken are set to join the league in 2021-22.

A team that signs Johnson could potentially expose him in the Kraken’s expansion draft next year.

Johnson, 30, has played 534 regular-season games in the NHL plus another 93 playoff games. When the NHL resumed its season with a 24-team playoff this summer, Johnson scored four goals and had three assists in 25 games.

During the 2019-20 regular season, he had 14 goals and 17 assists in 65 games, his fewest points per game since he broke into the league in 2013.

His best regular season came in 2014-15, when he had a team-high 72 points, including 29 goals. The Lightning reached the Stanley Cup Final that year but lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.

In his NHL career, Johnson has 153 goals and 186 assists. No other Spokane native has more.

Earlier this week, Johnson modified his contract’s no-trade clause, but the Lightning were unable to finalize a trade with any of the seven or eight teams on Johnson’s list, according to reports. Johnson originally signed a seven-year, $35 million deal in July 2017.

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