TAMPA, Fla. — News that all Bolts fans expected, but were dreading has finally dropped — Blake Coleman will no longer call Amalie Arena home.
The unrestricted free agent's management agency, Bartlett Hockey, confirmed Coleman signed a six-year, $29.4 million deal with the Calgary Flames Wednesday.
Coleman posted a tribute to fans on his Instagram page saying his time in Tampa since being traded from the New Jersey Devils to the Lightning in 2020 has "been a ride."
"This city took us in with open arms and we quickly became proud to call it home, we had both of our beautiful girls here, got to play with some of the best teammates in the game and reached the ultimate goal of winning the Stanley cup in back to back seasons," he wrote.
During his memorable two years in "Champa Bay," Coleman played a key role in helping the Bolts bring home both of their championship titles. During the 2020-201 season, Coleman stepped on the ice for 55 games and recorded 14 goals, 17 assists.
"Thank you for the memories, we will be champions forever," he added.
During a July press conference, Bolts general manager Julien BriseBois was unsure of Coleman's status moving forward with the team.
"I don’t know," BriseBois said, at the time.
The Lightning faced a looming salary cap and the general manager said he had to balance contracts, free agents, a salary cap and the fact that Coleman was among those who were due a "substantial" raise.
With Coleman's departure, so goes the Bolts' entire third line. Barclay Goodrow was the first to go when the Lightning traded him to the Rangers in exchange for the team's 7th-round draft pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.
Then came Yanni Gourde who was scooped up by the newly-formed Seattle Kraken during the team's expansion draft just three days later.
One thing is clear with Coleman's departure. Bolts fans will miss his clutch goal-scoring dives when the Tampa Bay teams need it most — Especially when it comes during the Stanley Cup Final.
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