Jean-Philippe Cote(24) Syracuse Crunch

Entering his 10th pro season, defenseman Jean-Phillipe Cote(24) becomes the first signing for Tampa Bay Lightning‘s brand new AHL affiliate Syracuse Crunch after winning the Calder Cup, his second, with Norfolk Admirals last season.

He inked a two-year minor league deal that will keep him in the system through 2014.

The 6’2″ 210 lbs. 30-year old started the year playing 10 games with Ontario Reign of the ECHL (his first appearance in the league) before signing a pto with the Admirals in mid-November that was bumped up to a standard player contract a month later.

Originally a Toronto Maple Leafs‘ 9th round pick in the 2000 draft (#265 overall), the big blue liner has appeared in 8 NHL games with Montreal Canadiens and won his first Calder Cup with Hamilton Bulldogs in 2007. He spent his first 5 seasons with the team skating in 354 games with the team.

He may not be the most prolific scoring d-man but he’s accountable force out there and even put up career highs last season for assists (12), points (15) and plus/minus (+26) and postseason games played, so he’s a good guy to have on any team.

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