Former Checkers defenseman Matt Corrente is headed to Tampa Bay.
According to his personal Twitter feed and confirmed by Capgeek, the rugged blueliner has signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Lightning organization. The 26-year-old spent one season in Charlotte, posting 11 points (2g, 9a) and 136 penalty minutes – the most by a Checkers defenseman since Zack Fitzgerald (229) in the 2010-11 campaign.
Of the Checkers’ unrestricted free agent class, Corrente is the fourth to sign elsewhere. Defenseman Mark Flood (KHL) and goaltender Mike Murphy (Austria) signed in Europe before the start of the NHL’s signing period, while Brett Sutter signed with Minnesota on July 1. Other UFAs from last season’s team who have yet to sign include forwards Nicolas Blanchard, Philippe Cornet, Sean Dolan, Matt Marquardt and Aaron Palushaj and goaltender John Muse.
Including Ryan Murphy, who new Hurricanes coach Bill Peters hopes to use on the NHL power play next season, Carolina still has eight defensemen under two-way contracts (Danny Biega, Michal Jordan, Keegan Lowe, Beau Schmitz, Austin Levi, Trevor Carrick and Dennis Robertson). That number could still rise if the team is able to come to terms with restricted free agent Rasmus Rissanen or any number of new players to offset the relative inexperience of the already-signed group.
After injuries limited him to 75 total games played over his three previous seasons in the New Jersey Devils system, Corrente’s 72 with the Checkers set a new career high at the AHL level. His 12 major penalties tied for fourth among AHL defensemen, while his plus-9 rating led all players who spent the entire season in Charlotte.