Lightning preparing for expansion draft.
While HC Jon Cooper is trying to guide Canada to a gold medal at the World Championship of Hockey in Europe, there no less than eight Lightning players on the rosters of the competing teams.
Meanwhile back in Tampa, Steve Yzerman is looking at the roster and preparing for the expansion draft next month. The big rumor coming out of Tampa is that Jonathan Drouin is on the trading block and could be dealt this off-season. Drouin was rumored to be part of the Kevin Shattenkirk trade the Lightning had in place with the St. Louis Blues before Shattenkirk vetoed the deal.
Here is a list of players that the Lightning cannot loose unless these players agree to be moved according to The Hockey News:
Victor Hedman (NMC) No Movement Clause
Steven Stamkos (NMC)
NMC waived: Ryan Callahan
Yzerman must also free up cap space this off-season and sign RFA’s Ondrej Palat, Jonathan Drouin, Slater Koekoek, Andrei Sustr, and Tyler Johnson. A decision will also need to made on Ryan Callahan. Callahan is 32 years old and will cost the Lightning 5.8 mill against the cap. I think this is a bit to pricey considering the injuries Callahan has had. His production has obviously been affected by the injuries but that money could be well spent on re-signing some of the RFA”s or getting another top two defensemen.
Alex Killorn is another guy that commands a lot of money but I think his salary dollars could be better spent somewhere else. Killorn will cost the Lightning 4.45 mill on the cap this next season. All that for 19G and 17A for 36 points this past season.
Brayden Point the 21 year old rookie had 18G and 22A for 40 points. Point is six years younger than Killorn and has much more potential and will be about 4 million dollars cheaper.
Who replaces Killorn? Adam Erne. In the limited action that he saw, I thought Erne brought a lot of energy to the team, worked hard, and was not afraid to get his nose dirty. I like his style of play and the Lightning needed more of that this season.
G Peter Budaj is a UFA. Budaj played well as the back-up to Vasilevskiy, but there will be other options at goalie available to the Lightning. Yzerman could go either way on this one. He will probably command an increase over his 600k per year salary on his last contract.