The Lightning on Wednesday re-signed the Russian left wing to a
one-year, $738,045 contract, but then expressed reservations about
"This is an incredibly important year for Affy," Lightning
executive vice president and general manager Jay Feaster said.
"He needs to demonstrate that he has the ability to play
consistently in a top-two line situation, play on the PP (power
play) and be productive."
The 26-year-old Afanasenkov collected a career-high nine goals
and six assists in 68 games with the Lightning this past season.
He also had one assist in five postseason games.
In 153 career games over four seasons -- all with Tampa Bay --
the 6-2, 200-pounder Afanasenkov has 16 goals and 17 assists, but the Lightning are hesitant to invest in the winger for the long haul.
"In a salary cap world he is running out of time to
demonstrate that he can produce and do it consistently," Feaster said. "We would like to negotiate a longer-term deal with him at some point, but he has to go out
and prove it to us first. The time is now and we are hoping
for a big year from him."