This is one of the busiest weeks in the NHL as free agency opens up on Sunday, and the Lightning are in the mix for the best free agent on the market NY Islander C John Tavares.
The Lightning will also be making a decision on Andrei Sustr. I would expect Sustr to be cut loose as the Lightning will be looking to upgrade the blue line.
Chris Kunitz has already been told he will not be back as he is expected to re-sign with his former team the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Tavares is one of the best players and scorers in the NHL. He has played his entire career in NY and has played on some very mediocre Islander teams.
Tavares is coming off a season where he scored 37G and put up 47A for 84 points, his second best season in the NHL. The Bruins, Leafs, Stars, Sharks, and the Lightning are all going hot and heavy after Tavares.
The Islanders have offered him an 8Yr/88 million dollar contract, but Tavares is willing to wait on the deal and see what else might be out there. Tavares will no doubt become one, if not the highest paid player in the NHL. Yzerman, Copper and Asst. GM Julien Breisbois flew to LA to meet with Tavares and his team earlier this weeK.
If the Lightning were to sign Tavares, the team would have to make some moves to free up some salary cap space. We should know sometime Sunday at the earliest on what Tavares decision will be.
Earlier this week, the Lightning re-signed F JT Miller to a contract extension. Miller signed a five year deal worth 26.25 million. Miller averaged a point a game upon his arrival from the NY Rangers. Miller had 10G and 9A for a total of 19 points in 18 games.
The Lightning also came to terms with G Louis Domingue on a 2 year deal worth 2.3 million. With the trade of Budaj back to the LA Kings, Domingue now becomes the backup to Andrei Vasilevskiy.
The Lightning also tendered Adam Erne, Slater Koekkoek, and Cedric Paquette.
Congrats to Marty St. Louis for his being one of the newest members of The Hockey Hall of Fame. St. Louis one of the most dynamic players in Lightning history, will be officially inducted in November with the rest of his class. St. Louis holds numerous Lightning records according to Lightning.com
- 1st All-Time in Assists with 588
- 1st All-Time in Points with 953
- 1st All-Time in Short Handed Goals with 28
- 1st All-Time in Game Winning Goals with 64
- 1st All-Time in Hat Tricks with 8 (tied with Steven Stamkos)
- 1st All-Time in Power Play Points with 300
- 2nd All-Time in Goals Scored with 365
I first saw Marty St. Louis play with the Cleveland Lumberjacks in the IHL back in the late 90’s. He played on a line with his Vermont teammate Eric Perrin. One of the shortest guys on the team, St. Louis always made for that with his drive, passion, and wanting to be the best he could be. Now St. Louis will be forever immortaliced with the all-time greats. A well deserved honor.