The reaction from Lightning fans was mixed. Some felt the contract was fine but many felt it was an overpay for a team with the Lightning’s salary cap situation. These kinds of initial gut reactions are to be expected but let’s try to walk through the steps of a measured analysis to understand the contract and give a reasonable evaluation of the front office’s performance here.
The Lightning had their meeting with Tavares on Wednesday afternoon. Tampa did not bring any current or former players with them to speak with Tavares, only Yzerman, Julien Brisebois, and Jon Cooper. With the conclusion of the Dallas Stars’ conversation with him Wendesday night, Tavares has spoken to all the teams he wanted to during this process. [Tampa Bay Times]
The Lightning was the last of five teams to meet with the Islanders center and his camp during the free-agent courting period, which began Sunday. The others were the Bruins, Sharks, Stars and Maple Leafs. None of those teams has been ruled out by Tavares, and neither has the Islanders, Canada’s Sportsnet reported.
The John Tavares camp is taking a step back to decompress and review what they learned over more than 12 hours of face-to-face meetings this week. None of the six finalists has been ruled out.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 28, 2018
He's due to become a UFA in ~86 hours. #TavaresWatch
Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has stated that he wants to re-sign Ryan McDonagh and contract negotiations are already underway for the defenseman with only one year left on his deal. [Sportsnet]
The John Tavares meetings are over, and he was debriefing Wednesday night with agent Pat Brisson. It is in his hands now.
Tampa Bay’s new training facility in Brandon is looking mighty fine. The Ice Sports Forum had recently undergone $8 million in renovations, which were revealed on Wednesday before Development Camp begun on the ice. [Brandon Patch]
The Ice Sports Forum also invested $500,000 in the project on rink, glass and dasher board upgrades. The new facility is 18,000 square feet, substantially larger than the old Ice Sports Forum, which was 5,500 square feet. By comparison, the team’s facility at Amalie Arena is 14,500 square feet.
Developement Camp is underway, all of the on-ice sessions are free and open to the public, including two 3-on-3 scrimmages between the prospects who are in the camp. Here is a full schedule and breakdown of what the kids are in for. [Raw Charge]
The team will also give back to the community in and around Tampa Bay as they plan to spend Tuesday July 3rd at the Lightning Made Summer Camp at Florida Hospital Center Ice in Wesley Chapel, as well as at the Simmons Family Riverview Boys and Girls Club.
"We're trying to send them home with some tools and some resources and then it's up to them to carry forward."— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) June 27, 2018
2018 #BoltsDevCamp | Stacy Roest, Director of Player Development: pic.twitter.com/2EPfu6y6su
Alex Barré-Boulet sees a lot of Yanni Gourde in himself, and he’s using it as living proof that he can make the NHL some day.
"When I look at Yanni [Gourde], he played in the @qmjhl, too. We have the same agent so I know a little bit about him. He's small, he's a guy that has a lot of character, he works hard. So I'm trying to do the same thing as him."— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) June 27, 2018
2018 #BoltsDevCamp | Alex Barré-Boulet: pic.twitter.com/Q3hacx3kcU
Prospect Sammy Walker speaks to what Development Camp is really about, and how it’ll help him in his next season of growth.
Recent signee Ross Colton talks about where he’s been the last few years!
On his time at UVM: "I think it was really the players around me that were making me better and the coaches believing in me and having the confidence in me to throw me out there in all situations and I tried to make the most of it."— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) June 27, 2018
2018 #BoltsDevCamp | Ross Colton: pic.twitter.com/iiNwfaRLnn
OHL Championship Finalists Boris Katchouk and Taylor Raddysh are old hats at this event now. They’re taking somewhat of a leadership approach this year, relative to previous camps.
"The first time I came in, I was just so shocked and I was really nervous. Coming into my third camp, I'm trying to help guys to come in and be confident. It's good to be with all the guys here and have a good time."— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) June 27, 2018
2018 #BoltsDevCamp | Boris Katchouk: pic.twitter.com/AuCTvvAFrn
"It's only a week long so you have to take it all in and get better every day. That's something I'm trying to come in here and do. It's my third camp now so I just have to keep getting better and better as the years go on."— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) June 27, 2018
2018 #BoltsDevCamp | Taylor Raddysh: pic.twitter.com/TVksyc9Uad
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres swung a trade yesterday. Winger Conor Sheary and defenseman Matt Hunwick are heading to Buffalo to help bolster that lineup with NHL calibre players in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2019 that could become a third if Sheary hits 20 goals/40 points or if Hunwick is traded. The Penguins save $5.25 million dollars in cap space this summer, which will significantly help them in free agency. [Pensburgh]
Straight up salary cap dump by the Pens. They get out of the last two years of Hunwick, which is a plus considering how poorly he played. However the cost was Sheary a still young player who does score quite a bit of even strength goals. Sheary may have been out of favor, but left wing was the weakest point on Pittsburgh’s roster and it’s weaker still today.
...and with thart cap space, the Penguins have reportedly agreed to terms with pending unrestrited free agent Jack Johnson on a five-year deal. [Pensburgh]
Penguins’ interest in signing Johnson first bubbled up a couple weeks ago but those type of rumors always come up this time of year. General manager Jim Rutherford was not exactly coy about wanting to add to the blue line this offseason and he put that process in motion this morning by trading Conor Sheary and Matt Hunwick to the Buffalo Sabres, freeing up over $5 million in cap space.
In other contract rumours, Devante Smith-Pelly has agreed to stay on with the Washington Capitals for one more year at $1 million [link], the Boston Bruins are in on James van Reimsdyk [link], and Cam Ward could find himself in Chicago in the near future [link].
And lastly, the Penguins have re-signed Riley Sheahan to a one-year, $2.1 million contract [link], the Arizona Coyotes have locked up Kevin Connauton for two seasons at $2.75 million [link], and Jean-Francois Berube is going from Chicago to Columbus for Jordan Schroeder in a trade [link].