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Quick Strikes: Could the Lightning be a stealth destination for new UFA Kevin Shattenkirk

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I mean, probably not. But also, maybe?

New York Rangers v New Jersey Devils Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images

The Bolts

The first piece of news today doesn’t seem immediately Lightning related. According to multiple reports, The New York Rangers will buy out the final two years of defender Kevin Shattenkirk’s contract. Things never worked out for him in New York and despite the buyout making little financial sense, the Rangers moved forward with it anyway.

And while the buyout itself is interesting, the more fun question is where will he go next? Despite a rough couple seasons in the Big Apple, Shattenkirk should still draw a good amount interest. He’s a right handed defender who at age 30, should still have a couple good years left. And given the circumstances of the buyout, he’ll likely be affordable.

A couple weeks ago, the idea of the Lightning signing him would’ve been absurd but with the trade of Ryan Callahan, the team suddenly has some cap space for this season. Things will get tight again next summer but at least for the immediate future, the Lightning have room to consider the idea. And they could always waive Luke Schenn or Jan Rutta to make a little more space.

Further, we know the team has a history of trying acquire the former Blues defender. According to reports from Bob McKenzie, the Lightning had a trade in place to bring him to Tampa in exchange for Jonathan Drouin but the deal didn’t happen because the team and the player couldn’t agree on an extension. But that was back when Shattenkirk was considered a top pairing right hander. He isn’t that anymore and if the front office still has interest, and Shattenkirk wants to chase a Cup, maybe there could be a fit.

This is all wild speculation on my part of course. Lots of other teams have more cap space and more room in the lineup. Cal Foote is close to being NHL ready. Victor Hedman and Mikhail Sergachev make Shattenkirk’s power play impact less of a need than it was at the time of the proposed Drouin trade. But given the history, it seems like the Lightning might at least check on the price.

In actual non wildly speculative Lightning news, I tried to compile all my thoughts on the Andrei Vasilevskiy contract. It’s not a particularly satisfying article but it sure is long!

If you think Vasilevskiy is the best goalie in the NHL at age 25 and likely to remain near the top of the heap for the next few years, then give him the big contract and have no regrets. If you think he has one season of top ten results following an uneven start to his career, this kind of contract is a nightmare. And the disconcerting thing is that I could make a strong case for either.

Geo broke down General Manager Julien BriseBois’ thoughts on the Ryan Callahan trade. JBB was refreshingly forthcoming about the reasons behind the decision and Geo added some additional context.

With Callahan having a career ending injury, and the Lightning being smart enough to have bought an insurance policy against his contract, the Lightning (and now the Senators) were only on the hook for 20% of the salary remaining. That would have been $940,000. Condon on the other side of the ledger is still owed $3 million this year no matter if he is in the NHL or the AHL. That means Vinik, and the salary budget, will have to pay $2,060,000 more after this trade. Having an owner with financial resources lets you make trades like this from the Lightning’s perspective. Having an owner like Ottawa’s means your team is on the other side of these types of trades looking to spend less money.

If you want to read more Ryan Callahan trade content, you can check out CBS’s coverage here and ESPN’s coverage here.

The Prospects

Gabriel Fortier played on the third line for Canada at the World Junior Summer Showcase yesterday. Unfortunately, Finland hammered the Canadians and Fortier didn’t get much of a chance to shine. Canada still has a couple more games left so hopefully Fortier gets another chance.

The latest episode of Syracuse Speaks is out later this morning but if you need more Crunch podcast content, Lukas Favale has you covered. Patrick Williams is one of the best reporters covering the AHL so this should be a good listen.

The Game

The Colorado Avalanche made the biggest splash of the day signing young defender Sam Girard to a long term deal a year before he would have become a restricted free agent. Girard has shown high end potential and the deal could end up being a huge bargain for Colorado if he continues on that trajectory.

The Avalanche announced this morning that they have signed defenseman Samuel Girard to a seven-year contract extension. The 21-year old still has one more year left on his entry level contract, so this deal won’t kick in until the 2020-21 season.

The contract is worth $35m over the 7-year term resulting in an average annual value of $5m. That’s a very good dollar figure for a player who has the potential to be a first pairing defender for the Avs for the length of the contract.

The New Jersey Devils avoided arbitration with one of their young defenders by signing Wil Butcher to a three year extension.

The New Jersey Devils have re-signed defenseman Will Butcher to a three-year, $11.2 million contract.

General manager Ray Shero announced Wednesday the 24-year-old Butcher will earn $3.5 million this season, $3.6 million the following season and $4.1 million in 2021-22.

In AHL news, Travis Morin retired after a long successful career and transitioned into a front office role with the Texas Stars.