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Quick Strikes: Countdown to free agency with Joe Pavelski rumors and more trades

Rumors swirl as we get closer to July 1st.

2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images

The Bolts

The biggest news around the Lightning continues to be the possibility of free agent forward Joe Pavelski signing in free agency. While we didn’t get any more direct indications toward his decision, we did get some narrowing of the options.

First, his former teammate John Scott tweeted that the Stars and the Lightning are the only two destinations he’s considering.

And then later in the day, San Jose beat writer Kevin Kurz confirmed that it looks like the Sharks are officially out of the running.

Based on the salary cap situation of the Lightning, the Stars still seem like the most logical option but given how much time Pavelski spent in Tampa this week, both sides must think there’s some way to fit him on the Lightning.

The Prospects

The Solar Bears officially signed goalie Clint Windsor. This move fills in more of the bottom end of the organizational depth in net. Windsor played with Orlando last year and has been in Tampa for development camp this week.

Windsor, 25, returns for his second season with the Solar Bears after originally signing with Orlando on Jan. 15. In eight appearances with Orlando, Windsor posted a 4-2-1 record with a 2.48 goals-against average and a save percentage of .926, helping the team clinch its third consecutive postseason appearance. Had Windsor played enough minutes to qualify, Windsor would have placed seventh in the ECHL in GAA and third in save percentage.

The Game

Two players who seem to have more upside than they’ve been given an opportunity to show in their careers were both on the move in exchange for draft picks yesterday.

The Vegas Golden Knights traded right handed defender Colin Miller to the Buffalo Sabres to get closer to clearing their cap issues. Miller has always posted strong numbers but has struggled to earn enough confidence from coaches to get more icetime.

The Vegas Golden Knights’ ongoing quest to get under the salary cap continues, as the club has traded defenseman Colin Miller to the Buffalo Sabres for two draft picks.

TSA was the first to report the move. Bob McKenzie confirmed Vegas will receive a second-round pick in 2021 and a fifth-round pick in 2022.

The 2021 pick is the one Buffalo acquired in its trade last summer with now-Conn Smythe and Selke winner Ryan O’Reilly from the St. Louis Blues.

In a similar deal, the Avs acquired forward Andre Burakovsky from the Capitals in exchange for draft picks. Like Miller, Burakovsky has posted good numbers in a limited role so it’ll be interesting to see if he gets a bigger opportunity in Colorado.

A former first-round pick in 2013, Burakovsky is a guy that has been a bit of a disappointment in Washington but the big winger has a world of talent and many believe that he could thrive in the right situation.

In exchange for Burakovsky, the Avalanche surrendered their 2020 second-round pick, the third-round pick they received in the Carl Soderberg trade as well as AHL forward Scott Kosmachuk — a trade that was broken by Ryan Clark of The Athletic early this afternoon.

The Toronto Maples Leafs officially completed two long rumored signings by getting restricted free agent forwards Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson locked up for another three years.

The new contract terms are finalized for Andreas Johnsson — $3.4 million for four years — and Kasperi Kapanen — $3.2 million for three years.

Johnsson will be 28 when his deal ends, about to turn 29 in the subsequent season, and he will be a UFA. Kapanen will be 26 a few weeks after his deal expires, and he will still be an RFA for one more year with arbitration rights.

Now they just have to resolve that minor Mitch Marner matter.