Lightning Re-Sign Free Agent Center Chris Gratton
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed center Chris Gratton to a one-year contract today, owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie announced.
“We are extremely excited to have Chris back in the fold for next season,” vice president of hockey operations Brian Lawton said. “He is a true professional that fits in perfectly with our plan to be a tough team to play against. We look forward to having a healthy Chris Gratton on the ice next season.”
Gratton, a 6-foot-4, 221-pound native of Brantford, Ontario, played in 60 games with the Lightning last season. He recorded 10 goals, 21 points, one power-play goal and one game-winning goal while battling a hip injury. He returned to the Tampa Bay line-up for the first time since the 1999-00 season last year and ranked second on the team in face-off percentage, winning 337 of 618 draws taken (54.5 percent). The Lightning posted a 6-1-1 record when Gratton scored a goal as he scored five of his 10 goals with the game tied.
The 33-year-old has played in 464 career games during three stints with Tampa Bay, recording 98 goals, 159 assists and 257 points. Gratton ranks seventh on the franchise list in games played, goals, assists and points.
The 15-year NHL veteran has played in 1,068 career games with Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Phoenix, Colorado and Florida. He has 214 career goals and 565 points with 1,626 penalty minutes. During his career, Gratton has recorded seven seasons with 15 goals or more and 12 seasons with 10 goals or more. He also put together 10 seasons with 30 points or more. He has played in 40 career playoff games, recording eight goals and 15 points during his career. He made his first Stanley Cup Playoff appearance with Tampa Bay in 1996 and recorded two points.
Gratton, the Lightning’s first-round choice, third overall, at the 1993 Entry Draft, served as Tampa Bay’s captain during the 1999-00 season. In 1997 he signed with Philadelphia as a free agent after four seasons with the Lightning. He played 108 games with the Flyers before being re-acquired by Tampa Bay with Mike Sillinger in exchange for Daymond Langkow and Mikael Renberg on December 12, 1998. The Lightning then traded him to Buffalo during the 1999-00 season with a second-round pick in the 2001 Entry Draft in exchange for Wayne Primeau, Brian Holzinger, Cory Sarich and a third-round pick in 2000. Following the trade he went on to play with the Coyotes, Avalanche and Panthers before being re-acquired by Tampa Bay from Florida on June 13, 2007.