The Tampa Bay Lightning scored big in free agency this week and were able to re-sign Brayden Point to a long-term deal keeping him in Tampa for the next eight years.
Lightning GM Julien Brisbois hit the ground running, and the Lightning revamped their blue line and was able to pick up some nice additions that will help the team in its quest for a third straight Stanley Cup.
First, let’s talk about the losses as we knew the Lightning would lose some key players.
The Lightning sent Tyler Johnson and a 2023 second-round pick to Chicago for the contract of Brent Seabrook.
Johnson, 31 years of age, has spent his entire career with the Lightning. He was a key ingredient in the Bolts winning back-to-back Stanley Cups.
BriseBois, in a statement, talked about what Johnson has meant to the Lightning organization. “I’d like to personally thank Tyler for what he has meant to this organization the last nine years. He played a pivotal role in the success the team has enjoyed and will be forever remembered as a two-time Stanley Cup Champion with the Bolts. We wish him all the best in Chicago.”
The Lightning rid themselves of Johnson’s five million dollar cap hit and pick up Seabrook’s contract. With Seabrook on LTIR, the Lightning created an additional 1.8 million dollars in cap space on their roster.
Blake Coleman, who was part of the grit and sandpaper line, signed with the Calgary Flames. Coleman gets 4.9 million a year for six years with the Flames.
The Lightning also lost defensemen David Savard who they picked up at the trade deadline. Savard goes back home to Quebec, signing a four-year, 14 million deal with the Montreal Canadiens.
The Lightning also lost defenseman Luke Schenn who signed a two-year 1.7 million deal with the Vancouver Canucks.
Now, let’s talk about the new faces that will be part of their Lightning team next season.
I was never impressed with Cutis McElhinney in goal. Every time he was in goal, I prepared myself for a loss. The team did not play well with McElhinney in goal, either.
The Lightning took a step to correct the backup goalie issue by signing Brian Elliott to a one-year deal worth $900,000. Elliott played with the Philadelphia Flyers last season, going 15-9-0-2 with a 3.06 GAA and a .889 save percentage with two shutouts.
In his 15 year career, Elliott has a 2.53 GAA with a .910 save percentage with 42 shutouts.
As a result of losing Savard and Schenn, the Lightning subsequently went out and signed Zach Bogosian to a three-year deal worth 2.55 million dollars.
Left-winger Pierre Edouard Bellemare also signed with the Bolts for two years and two million dollars. Bellemare played with the Colorado Avalanche last season.
In a move that left Lightning fans with mixed emotions, the team signed Corey Perry to a two-year deal worth two million dollars.
No question, Perry is a big pain in the ass to play against. You hate him when he is the opponent, but love him when he is on your team. He plays with an edge and a recklessness close to what you see from Tom Wilson of the Capitals.
Perry is a physical, gritty player, and he makes his impact felt all over the ice. He is not afraid to do anything to get an edge mentally and physically on his opponent.
Lightning fans may not be very fond of Perry no, but I think fans will come to appreciate his game in time.
However, the Lightning saved the big news for Thursday. The team finally announced that they had signed Brayden point to a contract extension. Point signs for eight years for 76 million dollars. That’s an average of nine million a season. The new contract will take effect with the 2022-23 season.
Point, 25, has played in 351 games in the last five seasons, scoring 139 goals and accumulating 310 points, becoming a two-time Stanley Cup Champion.
‘Brayden is a key contributor to the Lightning’s success and one of the most dynamic players in the NHL. To be able to agree to terms with him on a long-term contract is great news for our organization going forward. Not only is Brayden a skilled player, but he is also a fierce competitor who fits in well with the pedigree of our team. Our organization looks forward to having him be a big part of this team for many years to come.” Lightning GM Julien BriseBois.
All things considered, BriseBois deserves a ton of credit. He came out swinging the first 48 hours of free agency. Furthermore, he has put the Lightning in a great position to go for a third Stanley Cup in 2022.
In conclusion, even without the free-agent signings, the Lightning still has the best goalie in the world in Andrei Vasilevskiy. Three of the best-skilled forwards in the NHL. Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, Steven Stamkos, and Victor Hedman anchoring the blue line.
Is it October Yet?