This one comes as something of a surprise.
According to a report from TSN National Hockey League insider Darren Dreger, veteran defenseman Zach Bogosian has signed a brand new NHL deal, although he has done so with a team that no one had in the running. Dreger reports that the Tampa Bay Lightning are the team that finally got the deal done, this in spite of the fact that there were reportedly a number of teams with serious interest in the unrestricted free agent.
Bogosian became a free agent on Saturday after being placed on unconditional waivers by the Sabres for the purpose of terminating his contract after Bogosian refused to report to the American Hockey League. It was clear that Bogosian felt he could still contribute at the NHL level and by terminating his contract with the Sabres he demonstrated that he was prepared to leave millions of dollars on the table in order to do so, and now he has done just that.
I think it is also safe to say that the consistent losing Bogosian experienced as a member of the Buffalo Sabres organization over the past several seasons took a toll on the player's psyche, something that many Sabres players have admitted to in the past. For Bogosian this will represent a drastic change of scenery, going from a team that has routinely underperformed over the past several seasons to a perennial Stanley Cup Contender now by joining the Lightning organization. It remains to be seen how much of a role he will have on the Lightning's blue line, but no doubt Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien Brisebois signed the veteran blue liner because he intends to use him in the Lightning's upcoming playoff run.
Update: The Lightning have now made the news official, announcing that they have agreed to terms with Bogosian on a one year contract that will pay him $1.3 million, although that amount will not represent what he will earn for the games that remain on the calendar. The fact that he is not receiving the league minimum here may be an indication that there was some legitimate competition for his services, competition that drove the price up by several hundreds of thousands of dollars.