Should he stay or go?
As of now there has been no progress in the contract negotiations with Steven Stamkos . The Lightning have until Friday June 28th to sign Stamkos or he is free to negotiate with other clubs. Stamkos can still sign with Lightning anytime, but chances are slim that he re-signs with the Lightning after July 1 if the Lightning don’t sign him to a new contract. I’m sure Yzerman is working around the clock to get something done, however He can’t break the bank with so many other Lightning players up for re-negotiations on their contracts.
I’m hearing that the Stamkos camp is wanting in the neighborhood of 10 million a season. The Lightning have countered with 8.5 million a season. I think the 8.5 million is a fair amount and would fit into the salary cap for the upcoming season. The cap will be just north of 73 million this season.
Nikita Kucherov is due for a major bump up in salary. He made 550,000 this past season, and will get a raise in the 4-5 million range for this season. Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat are both due to major increases.
Victor Hedman who made 5 million this past season is grossly underpaid and will get a huge raise next summer. Yzerman must re-sign Hedman at all costs. Defenseman of Hedman’s caliber are so hard to get and develop. If the Lightning lose Stamkos you have other players who can pick up his offensive production. Jonathan Drouin is due for a breakout season and is going to surprise a lot of fans this season.
Hedman will command a salary in the 9-10 million dollar range per season. P.K. Subban is at 10 million, I think Hedman will get at least that much. If the Lightning cannot sign Hedman to a new deal he will be one of the top players in demand next off-season.
And then there is the Ben Bishop saga. If the Lightning re-sign Stamkos, I Think that Bishop would definitely be traded to free up some salary cap room. That would make Vasilevskiy the starter who has never been a No.1 at the NHL level, but I believe is ready for that next step. That would mean Yzerman would need to get a veteran NHL goalie to come and back up Vaselivskiy. Kristers Gudlevskis is a highly rated prospect at Syracuse, but that would be a scary thought with 2 -20 something goaltenders without anyone having ever been a starter in the NHL.
Yzerman must also plan for the expansion draft next summer as Las Vegas will begin play in the 2017-18 season. With so much talent on this team they will lose 1-2 players.
–Ryan Callahan had hip surgery this week he will not be back until late November or early December.
–Home opener will be Oct. 13 against the Detroit Red Wings.