Lightning terminate Josh Archibald’s contract, sign Tyler Motte

Lightning terminate Josh Archibald’s contract, sign Tyler Motte

With the opening of training camp less than two weeks away, the Lightning roster on Saturday took on a different look. Specifically, regarding the players in the mix for the bottom-six forward spots.

The team announced it is terminating the contract of forward Josh Archibald, signed to a two-year deal this offseason, and replacing him with Tyler Motte for the upcoming season.

In a news release, Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois said he was told Friday by Archibald and his agent that Archibald “was not planning on playing hockey for the time being and that he would not be reporting to training camp.”

Archibald, who will be 31 when the season opens, was expected to round out the Lightning’s fourth line as a rugged right wing. He was slated to make an average annual value of $800,000 for the next two seasons.

After hearing of Archibald’s decision, he was placed on unconditional waivers Saturday for the purpose of terminating his contract. Once the deal is terminated, it will not count against the Lightning’s salary cap.

“We wish Josh, his wife Bailey, and their entire family the very best in their future endeavors,” BriseBois said in the release.

Motte, a 28-year-old veteran of seven NHL seasons with five different teams, will make $800,000 on a one-year deal. It is the same cap hit Archibald had and opens up space for 2024-25.

Motte will offer physicality — he averaged 131 hits over the past five seasons with Vancouver, Ottawa and two stints with the Rangers — further the team’s offseason vision of upgrading defensively and kill penalties. His 5.01 blocked shots per 60 minutes in 38 games with Ottawa in 2022-23 led all Senators forwards.

Motte had eight goals and career highs of 11 assists and 19 points in 62 games with the Senators and Rangers last season, averaging 12:34 of ice time.

Following a deadline deal to New York, where he played the previous season after a midseason trade, Motte had five goals and five assists in 24 regular-season games with the Rangers. He averaged 11:50 in seven postseason games.

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