Now that the celebrations are over and the NHL off-season has officially begun, GM Julien Brisebois and the Tampa Bay Lightning front office will be extremely busy over the next few weeks. They are planning the roster moves that will get this team under the salary cap and still contend for a Stanley Cup.
The Lightning are $3.5 million over the cap with just 19 players under contract. The NHL expansion draft is less than two weeks away, and the Lightning had to submit their expansion draft protection list to the league office this afternoon.
The NHL Draft is coming up this month. These next two weeks will be very hectic for the Lightning front office and GM Julien BriseBois. A lot of the organization’s moves will go a long way to determine the future of the Lightning organization and its success down the road.
Earlier this week, in his end-of-season press conference, BriseBois talked about the injuries that this Lightning team battled through to their second straight Stanley Cup.
-Victor Hedman played with a torn Meniscus since March 30th. He will have surgery this week, and his recovery time is expected to be three to four weeks.
-Blake Coleman and Ryan McDonagh both played with broken hands.
-Nikita Kucherov played with a fractured rib suffered in the New York Islanders series. Kucherov played in the finals with a flak jacket and was given a pain killer shot before every game so he would be able to play.
-Alex Killorn suffered a broken leg in game one of the Stanley Cup Finals. He had surgery to insert a rod two days later and was back skating two days later to try to help his team win the cup.
This effort was not lost on BriseBois as he became emotional talking about the sacrifices this team went through to win the Stanley Cup.
This team will look entirely different next season. David Savard is a UFA, as is Blake Coleman
Julien BriseBois also talked a bit about how the Lightning roster could look next season.
“I love the roster we have now. It’s an incredible roster that won two Stanley Cups. It’s incredibly deep, and I’d love to bring it back as it is. The reality is there are some UFAs we’re going to have to let walk away. That’s going to hurt. They’re important players on our team. I will have to trade players that are under contract as well to be cap compliant. Those players are good as well.” The reality is we’re going to have to let some UFAs walk. And that’s going to hurt.”
Today, the Lightning made the first of what could be many transactions as they sent forward Barclay Goodrow to the New York Rangers in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick.
This trade was made before the roster freeze went into effect at 4 PM this afternoon. No roster adjustments will be made by any NHL team until July 22nd.
A lot will happen these next two weeks as the NHL begins to lay the groundwork for the 2021-22 season.
There is the expansion draft next weekend for the Seattle Kraken. Then it is the NHL Draft, which will take place July 23rd, and 24th. Then, we will have the release of the 2021-22 NHL schedule in late July.
Hard to believe, but training camp for the Lightning is less than two months away. It will be the quickest turnaround in NHL history from the conclusion of one season to the start of another.
Two things you can count on. Number one, this team will look a little different in October when the puck drops on the regular season.
Two. There is no reason to think that this team will not be competitive and put themselves in a position to win a third straight Stanley Cup.
The future continues to shine brightly for the Tampa Bay Lightning.