The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed goaltender Matt Tomkins to a two-year contract.
Tomkins, 28, was previously drafted in the seventh round by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2012 before embarking on a four-year run at Ohio State University. He put up solid numbers there before turning pro in 2017-18, splitting his time between the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs and ECHL’s Indy Fuel. He was full-time with the IceHogs for two seasons (2019-20 and 2020-21), but served as a backup most of the time.
Tomkins opted to sign with Frolunda in the SHL last year, where he was 19-13-0 with three shutouts. He went on to represent Canada at the Olympics, earning the starting job late in the tournament over former No. 1 Edward Pasquale and current Buffalo Sabers goaltender Devon Levi.
Tomkins moved to Farjestad this year, where he was one of the best goaltenders in the SHL. He shared the net with Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Dennis Hildeby, with the pair proving to be a solid goaltending duo. But after missing out on the NHL the first time around, Hildeby is looking for a second chance, and he’s giving the Lightning solid goalie depth to work with next year.
The team currently have Andrei Vasilevskiy and Hugo Alnefelt signed to deals next year. Max Lagace has been one of the AHL’s affiliate goaltenders this year and could return, but it would make sense for the Bolts to run with a Tomkins-Alnefelt combo next year. The backup position could be open with Brian Elliott, 38, set to become an unrestricted free agent.
The Bolts were eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Tampa Bay won the championship in 2020 and 2021 before falling just short against Colorado last season.