With the summer winding down, we’re starting to get back in hockey mode here at the blog and in that spirit, we have some exciting news. We got to chat with an Insider** who knows all the ins and outs of the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. All the behind the scenes machinations. All the juicy gossip. And we’re going to bring it to you unedited.
To start, the question everyone wants us to ask. What’s the deal with Brayden Point and his contract negotiation status?
Brayden Point still hasn’t signed a contract extension with the Tampa Bay Lightning. As of now, we expect the contract to be for one year and one million dollars.
In addition to Brayden Point, Ben Bishop has been with the Tampa Bay Lightning for a whopping 14 years, including 4 years and $12 million.
Now, it appears to be a matter of time before Bishop is traded along with Jonathan Drouin, who’s already signed an extension. We expect Bishop to be traded sometime in the near future.
After getting rid of Brayden Point and Ben Bishop, the Tampa Bay Lightning would also like to bring in free-agent winger, Victor Hedman. The big, lumbering, and offensive defenseman has a deal set to expire with the St. Louis Blues on July 1st, but that could change and the Lightning are said to be eyeing him.
At this point, it’s hard to determine where Hedman goes from here. He hasn’t been able to crack the lineup for St. Louis and has been a bit of an afterthought.
Wow! Huge news. Brayden Point is apparently going to sign for one year and one million dollars. What a steal for the Lightning! But also they’re going to get rid of him? And apparently reacquire Ben Bishop and Jonathan Drouin only to trade them again. Very strange. But Victor Hedman on the wing should be fun.
Next question: Anthony Cirelli emerged as an outstanding third line center last season. What should fans expect in 2019-2020?
Anthony Cirelli is an elite, third line, two-way center for the Tampa Bay Lightning. He is expected to return to the Lightning at some point, and it is an expected move given his limited time on the ice. There were some reports that the Lightning were looking for a young, up-and-coming centre to play with James Neal. That was not the case as they made Cirelli the fourth-overall pick in the 2014 NHL draft.
Cirelli is a very good hockey player but he also has a lot going for him as a person. The kid is extremely positive, has a nice demeanor, and he seems to know he is making a good decision.
Below is the video of Cirelli explaining the decision to stay in Russia and being drafted by the Lightning.
Cirelli was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs with the first overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
Wow, explosive news here. Anthony Cirelli apparently was drafted by both the Lightning and the Leafs back in 2014 after playing in Russia the previous season. How has no one reported this? Also, bullet dodged on James Neal. And really, the second paragraph is just straight up true.
Moving on to the prospects, what can Carter Verhaeghe bring to the Lightning this season.
In 2019-20, Carter Verhaeghe is expected to be the No. 1 goalie on the Kings roster barring any injury from 2015 First-Round Picks Jakob Silfverberg and Ben Scrivens.
As for the 2017 draft, the Kings chose to select goaltender Jake Muzzin, center Dylan Reese, defenceman Jakob Chychrun, forward Cole Seiler, and goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo.
”He’s a very nice piece,” said Carter. “Kase, we talked about him back here. I saw him in camp. I think he can play in this league. Obviously, he’s a big center. But I think he’s a smart player and a very good player. He skates like we talk and he’s a smart player who we’d like to add to our core.”
Carter said that he and his staff also will look closely at forward Alex Marshall.
Another bombshell. Verhaeghe will apparently be traded to the Kings where despite being a forward, he’ll be the team’s best goaltending option? Seems like a serious indictment of the front office in LA. Also, congrats to Jeff Carter (I think?) on becoming the Kings’ GM.
Is there any truth to the rumors that the Lightning are interested in trading for Jesse Puljujarvi from the Oilers?
The Tampa Bay Lightning will acquire Jesse Puljujarvi in exchange for forward Jason Garrison.
Puljujarvi, 23, has 12 goals, 37 points and a +16 in 64 games with the Lightning this season. On Feb. 27, the Lightning recalled forward Victor Hedman from Syracuse of the American Hockey League and placed him on waivers. The Lightning claimed Hedman on Feb. 28 and claimed him back off waivers one day later.
Garrison, 24, played 14 games for the Lightning this season.
The two forwards will be assigned to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League on a conditioning stint.
Puljujarvi will join Steven Stamkos and Ben Bishop as NHL players currently signed to new contracts with the Lightning.
Puljujarvi and Garrison played together during the Lightning’s run to the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. The two also played together for Switzerland at the World Championships.
Garrison had 11 goals, 25 points and a +17 rating in 59 games with the Syracuse Crunch this season.
Well this just seems unfair. Resigning Jason Garrison, calling him a forward, and then trading him to the Oilers for a recent top five pick? And Edmonton, what are you doing? Even from the team that brought us Hall for Larsson, this seems a little much.
And last but not least, any other interesting tidbits for us on the inner workings of the team?
Jeff Vinik has decided to sell the Tampa Bay Lightning to Mike Burns, owner of the Atlanta Thrashers.
Vinik, the NHL’s commissioner since 2009, made his decision public on Twitter Thursday morning, shortly after the trade deadline.
”I’m really blessed to have had the chance to work for Bob, and to learn so much about him personally, and on an organizational level, over the last 10 years,” Vinik said in the statement. “And I’m delighted to have the opportunity to own the hockey team again for a decade or more.”
Vinik’s announcement comes as the team has been embroiled in a salary-cap crunch and is dealing with off-field issues.
The team made headlines in December after it was reported that assistant coach Jeff Blashill had been fired as general manager of the team, and then later reported that owner Jeff Vinik requested that Blashill be brought back to the organization.
Vinik confirmed that he asked for Blashill back last December, and he said he hoped he would be back, but he is not expected to
WHAT?!?! I guess we buried the lead a little here. Things aren’t going to be the same around here without Vinik in charge. And if we’re looking at the Thrashers as a forecast of our future, we can expect the Lightning to exist for about five more years. So, I guess enjoy it while it lasts?
Wow, that’s a lot of news to get at once. Hopefully, you’re all able to process it. And what I can definitely say about the news above is that it’s true and was not generated by a neural net text completion tool that you can play with on your own at talktotransformer.com. We would definitely not publish that kind of article on our reputable website in the dead of August because we’re bored. Absolutely not. We’re better than that.
Editor’s note: We are not better than that and that’s exactly what we did. But seriously, that’s a cool site. Go give it some prompts and post the outputs in the comments.
*We have no scoops.
**The Insider is a robot who doesn’t know anything and is still learning to speak coherently. So not much different from some of the usual Insiders I guess.