Lightning ink Ryan Malone to seven year, $31.5 million contract

The Hockey News’s No. 4 rated UFA forward is off the board.

After acquiring the rights to Ryan Malone Saturday, the Lightning managed to get the power forward’s name on a new deal worth $31.5 million over seven years.

Malone would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency Tuesday.

Because Tampa Bay was able to sign Malone, the Lightning will give Pittsburgh their third round draft pick in 2009. Veteran Gary Roberts was also acquired in the trade, but has not yet signed.

Malone is a Pittsburgh native that has spent his entire career with the Penguins. He had 51 points (27-24) in 77 games last season before adding six goals and 10 assists during the team’s run to the Stanley Cup final.

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The 27-year-old has 87 goals and 169 points in 299 career NHL games.

Roberts was limited to just 38 games last season because of a broken leg. He had three goals and 12 assists before adding two goals and two assists in 11 playoff games.

The 20-year NHL veteran has appeared in 1,194 career games with Calgary, Carolina, Toronto, Florida and Pittsburgh. He has 434 career goals and 903 points. He also helped Calgary capture the ’89 Stanley Cup.

– with files from CP