Now that the celebrating has subsided, from winning the Stanley Cup, reality will start to set in.
General manager Julien BreisBois still has some tough decisions to make on the roster over the next few months.
The Lightning has just over 78 million dollars committed to 18 players for next season. That includes Tyler Johnson and his 5 million dollar contract.
Johnson was put on waivers by the Lightning at the start of the free agency period, but no one claimed him. The Lightning had tried to trade Johnson, but no one was willing to take on his salary.
So Johnson remains on the team for now as BriesBois contemplates his next move.
Almost every team is in a tough salary cap situation, but no one is in worse shape than the Lightning.
Here is the list of players the Lightning chose not to re-sign.
D-Kevin Shattenkirk signed with Anaheim.
F-Carter Verhaeghe signed with Florida.
D-Zach Bogosian signed with Toronto.
The Lightning has re-signed the following players.
F-Pat Maroon two years $900,000 AVV
F-Michell Stephens two years
D-Luke Schen one year $800,000
Other signings include the following:
F-Gemal Smith one year two-way contract
F-Ross Colton. Colton led the Syracuse Crunch in assists and was second on the team in points. He signed a one-year two-way contract.
G-Spencer Martin One year contract.
On the blue line, the Lightning has just four NHL caliber defensemen on the roster. Hedman, McDonagh, Schenn, and Coburn.
Mikhail Sergachev and Eric Cernak are unrestricted free agents. It is going to take some tricky roster maneuvering by Briesbois to get both guys signed to new contracts.
Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat, Braydon Point, Barclay Goodrow, Yanni Gourde, Blake Coleman, Alex Killorn, Pat Maroon, Tyler Johnson, and Mitchell Stephens are under contract.
The goaltenders will be back in Andrei Vasilevskiy and Cutis McElhinney.
The 2021-22 NHL season is tentatively scheduled to begin o January 1. But there a lot of issues that could come into play to delay that.
It looks as if there will be division realignment for this season. Canada still has very tight border restrictions, and it will be difficult for teams to travel back and forth across the border.
There is talk of an all Canadian division which would indicate there will be other division realignments as well.
This is a fluid situation and will change 100 times before the season officially begins.
The Lightning still has lots of work to do to get their roster ready for the upcoming season.
Every move that BriesBois made last season seemed to work out. Let’s hope that magic touch continues as he continues to reshape the roster.