While the Lighting’s main focus has to be on tying their Stanley Cup Final series against the Colorado Avalanche, that hasn’t stopped their front office from getting some offseason work done early. Today the Lightning announced that they have re-signed defenseman Sean Day to a one-year, two-way contract. Per CapFriendly, the deal carries a $750k cap hit, a $750k NHL salary, a $200k AHL salary, and $225k in total guarantees.
Day, 24, is perhaps best known for being one of the few players granted exceptional status by the Ontario Hockey League. As an “exceptional player,” Day joined an elite group of OHL players including John Tavares, Connor McDavidand Aaron Ekblad. Unfortunately, Day did not live up to his exceptional-status billing. While he wasn’t a bad OHL-er by any means, he struggled to be a true difference-maker until he got older and ended up on three different OHL teams during his five-year major junior career.
Day was drafted with the New York Rangers’ top pick at the 2016 draft, going 81st overall. The Rangers signed Day to his entry-level deal and at the conclusion of his OHL career plugged him into their minor league system. He bounced between the AHL and ECHL levels for his first two professional seasons before his contract was terminated, he became a free agent and signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning. With the Lightning’s affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, Day become an AHL regular and this past season registered his most successful year as a pro, scoring 40 points in 69 games. Day averaged just under 19 minutes of time on ice per game, and his breakout AHL year led him to his first NHL call-up. Day got into two NHL games this year and averaged 10:43 time on ice per game.
Day’s one-year extension gives him the chance to stay in Syracuse and continue a career trajectory that’s pointed upwards ever since the start of 2021-22. While he may never end up fulfilling the potential he held as a junior, he seems to be on his way toward carving out a role as dependent organizational depth for one of the top franchises in the NHL.