TAMPA – The Tampa Bay Lightning will compete for a third straight Stanley Cup title next season and remain a contender going forward, but there will likely be roster changes due to the NHL salary cap and upcoming draft expansion, CEO Julien BriseBois said on Tuesday.
Before Antoine Cirelli, Nikita Kucherov, Pointe Brayden and Steven Stamkos; defenders Erik Cernak, Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh and Mikhail Sergachev; and goalkeeper Andreï Vasilevskiy are likely to stay (all except Point are signed for multiple seasons).
Before Tyler Johnson, Yanni Gourde, Ondrej Palat and Alex Killorn are the most likely candidates to be traded for salary cap purposes. Johnson, who turns 31 on July 29, has three more seasons on his contract with an average annual value of $ 5 million; Gourde, 29, still has four seasons at $ 5.166 million a year; Palat, 30, has one season remaining at $ 5.3 million a year; and Killorn, 31, still has two seasons at $ 4.45 million a year.
Before Blake Coleman, 29 and Barclay Goodrow, 28 years old and defenders David Savard, 30 and Luc Schenn, 31, is one of Lightning’s unrestricted free agents.
The salary cap will remain at $ 81.5 million next season.
“The reality is that I would love to bring this team back exactly as it is, and I would have confidence that they will be very successful, the reality is that we won’t be able to do that,” BriseBois mentioned. “Mainly because of the cap, to some extent because there is an expansion plan ahead.
“Today I can’t tell you who won’t come back, which players won’t come back, because I’m not sure. But I know whoever doesn’t come back will miss me having them our team. “
Coleman has 31 points (14 goals, 17 assists) in 55 regular season games and 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in 23 Stanley Cup playoff games this season. Goodrow has 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in 55 regular season games and six points (two goals, four assists) in 18 playoff games.
“It will be a challenge,” said BriseBois. “The reality is that these two players got substantial raises and we might not be able to be the one giving them. “
The Lightning will also need to contract with restricted free agent attackers. Ross Colton and Alex Barre-Boulet, each 24. Colton scored in the 1-0 victory in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the streak-ending Montreal Canadiens. He scored 12 points (nine goals, three assists) in 30 regular season games as a rookie and six points (four games, two assists) in 23 playoff games. Barre-Boulet scored three goals in 15 regular season games and did not make the playoffs.
A more immediate concern for BriseBois is which players the Lightning will protect in the 2021 NHL expansion draft presented by Upper Deck for the Seattle Kraken on July 21.
The Kraken will choose one player from each team, with the exception of the Vegas Golden Knights, for a total of 30. Each team can protect seven forwards, three defenders and one goalie; or eight skaters (attackers / defenders) and a goaltender. Teams must submit their list of protected players by July 17.
BriseBois said he had spoken with Seattle about potential deals that could dictate who the Kraken would choose from among the Lightning in the expansion plan.
“The Seattle situation adds a nice wrinkle to our challenge this offseason,” said BriseBois. “Will there be any agreements before that?” I think there might be. We can be one of those teams, maybe not. “
BriseBois said he expects it to be a more active offseason in the NHL.
“There are a lot of reasons why teams weren’t so keen on acquiring players last offseason,” said BriseBois. “I think now we’re in a better position throughout the league. Looking ahead, I think we’ll get back to normal by the fall. The feeling I’ve had over the past few days and spent a lot of time on the phone is that there is an appetite to add players. “