A silver lining for the Tampa Bay Lightning?
Keeping the band together.
Following the announcement two days ago that Johnny Oduya will not re-sign in Chicago (and his subsequent signing with the Dallas Stars) the total number of players from the Hawks roster that claimed the Stanley Cup in 6 games over the Lightning that won't be in Chicago in 2015-16 goes up to six:
Johnny Oduya has ruled out the #Blackhawks, per his agent. He'll become the sixth player who played in Game 6 of the Final to leave.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) July 14, 2015
The list of six for the Hawks? Brandon Saad (traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets), Patrick Sharp (traded to the Dallas Stars), Brad Richards (left in free agency to sign with the Detroit Red Wings), Antoine Vermette (who returned to the Arizona Coyotes in free agency) and Kimmo Timonen (who retired).
On the other hand, the Lightning have failed to retain just one player from their Cup Final roster: Brenden Morrow.
Let's further demonstrate the gaps each team will need to fill (2014-15 playoff stats):
That's 130 games played, 20 goals, 32 assists, and a boatload of ice time that the Hawks have to replace for next season. Plus, with just under $1 million in salary cap space left, they also need to to find a way get shutdown center Marcus Kruger re-signed.
The same chart, for the Lightning:
Now, this is not to say that time (and the salary cap) isn't coming for the Bolts. A day where they're forced to shed salary and lose critical pieces following deep playoff runs is very near. But it's not here yet; the team that the Lightning iced in the Final will, barring any trades or internal promotion by the hand of GM Steve Yzerman, be exactly the same.
With all due respect to players the Hawks brought in, like Marko Dano, Artem Anisimov, Trevor Daley, Corey Tropp, and Ryan Garbutt, expecting them to step right into the gaps left by the players Chicago lost and provide the same level of production isn't wise.
Again, the day where Tampa Bay has to make a tough decision about who is part of the "core" and who is expendable is coming -- but not until next summer. For now, the Bolts are in a great position to once again try and make another run at the NHL's ultimate prize.