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Lightning Round: What’s next for Tyler Johnson?

Free agency update.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Boston Bruins - Game Four Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

As you probably knew Tyler Johnson went unclaimed through waivers. The Tampa Bay Lightning not only remain in the same cap situation as couple of days ago, but it also indicates that NHL teams do not have an interest in the Lightning forward even if they don’t have to give assets back. In his yesterday’s article Geo analyzes potential next steps by Julien BriseBois and even mentions a buyout possibility [Raw Charge]

The one backdoor option that the Lightning have, and this is still a weird and awkward one to get to, is a buy-out. The regular buy-out period is over though, so the Lightning can’t just outright buy him out right now. However, there is a second buy-out period. You may remember last year that Kevin Shattenkirk wasn’t bought out until well after the June buy-out period. The way to get to a second buy-out opportunity is to have two restricted free agents go to arbitration hearings.

Another reason why Johnson cleared the waivers yesterday is that NHL teams are being cautious. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the salary cap remains flat for the next season and with uncertainty about the start of the 2020-21 season, no one can be really sure if it won’t stay flat for several seasons more.

It will be interesting to see if Julien BriseBois has a plan B regarding Tyler Johnson. Alex Killorn’s camp has been silent so far, we might hear new reports about potential Killorn’s trade in near future.

Meanwhile the Lightning signed Ross Colton to one-year, two way deal. This 24-year-old forward was drafted in the 4th round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft and spent two previous seasons with the Syracuse Crunch, recording 42 (11+31) points in 62 games of the last season. According to some experts he’s a potential candidate to crack the Lightning’s line-up next season.

Zach Bogosian will not return for the next season with the Bolts. The 30-year-old defenseman signed a one-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs to add some depth on the right side of the Leafs defense, which has been a very problematic aspect in recent years.

In other news, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos underwent another surgery and is expected to be ready before the start of the next season. It’s his second surgery this year.

Around the League

The free agency trend remained the same during Saturday: the NHL teams focused on adding depth players to their rosters, without spending big amounts on new contracts.

The Edmonton Oilers signed defenseman Tyson Barrie, who’s looking forward to boost his productivity after playing alongside with Connor McDavid and probably get a better contract a year later. The Oilers also bring back goaltender Mike Smith to one more year.

The Detroit Red Wings land defenseman Troy Stetcher after he wasn’t received a qualifying offer from the Vancouver Canucks. He will make $3.4 million over two years in Detroit.

Steve Yzerman’s team also agreed on a deal with goaltender Thomas Greiss, who previously played for the New York Islanders.

The Colorado Avalanche sent defenseman Nikita Zadorov alongside with Anton Lindholm in to Chicago in exchange for Brandon Saad & Dennis Gilbert. The Chicago Blackhawks also retain $1 million of Saad’s salary.

The Avalanche announced re-signing of forwards Andre Burakovski and Valeri Nichushkin to two-year deals. Not a bad start of free agency for Joe Sakic.

The Boston Bruins added Craig Smith to their roster, making their top-9 look even more dangerous than it was before. The deal is 3x$3.1M.

The Arizona Coyotes signed Jonas Larsson to a two-year deal, adding one of the best bottom six centres in the league.

The Toronto Maple Leafs cleared some cap space after trading Andreas Johnson to the New Jersey Devils. The Leafs also signed Travis Boyd to a league-minimum deal. He spent his entire career in the Washington Capitals organization.

The Capitals continue to rebuild a right side of their defense and after signing Justin Schultz on Friday, added the former Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk

Former Lightning goaltender Louis Domingue landing in Calgary on a two-way contract. It’s his third NHL team since leaving Tampa in 2019.

Kevin Labanc re-signed with the San Jose Sharks. After taking a small contract a year ago and helping his teams with cap situation, he got a much better contract, signing a 4-years, $18.9 million deal.

26 players filed for arbitration so far. No Lightning player among them by the time this article is written.