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Lightning Round: Qualifying Offers have expired, what does it mean for the Bolts?

Updating the statuses of the RFAs.

New Jersey Devils v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Five
TAMPA, FL - APRIL 21: Mikhail Sergachev #98 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates his goal with teammates Anthony Cirelli #71 and Braydon Coburn #55 against the New Jersey Devils in Game Five of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on April 21, 2018 in Tampa, Florida.
Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images

At 5:00 pm on Sunday, qualifying offers expired for all unsigned restricted free agents on all the teams. For the Tampa Bay Lightning, there are six RFAs who have yet to be signed. Anthony Cirelli, Mikhail Sergachev, Erik Cernak, Mathieu Joseph, Alexander Volkov, and Dominik Masin.

What does this mean? Largely nothing. All of these players still have their contracts under team control, they just can’t accept the initial offer the Lightning put on the table. You can calculate QO contracts on the CapFriendly website, it’s pretty much just a small raise from their salary last year on a one year deal.

I’m sure for all of these players, the Lightning have made different offers that carry different qualities to them; i.e. more money, more term, or a higher salary in the minors. Dominik Masin had the option to elect arbitration with the Lightning, but he did not file according to the NHLPA. If the Lightning want to trigger that process, they can elect arbitration themselves and get a court date to settle the contract. The fact that Masin did not use his collectively bargained right for arbitration is either good news and he’s going to sign soon, or bad news and he’s staying in the KHL where he’s currently playing.

There are still no updates or changes to the situation with Cirelli and Sergachev. Both are exposed to offer sheets — though they have not signed any yet, and there have no reports of one being offered yet. The team still needs to create space in order to know how much the two young stars can be paid. With the way things are going and the lack of space available, it’ll almost definitely be bridge deals for both and for Cernak.

My guess is that teams who are dealing with arbitration (starting Tuesday) will be able to look at their cap space again after those RFAs are cleared up to potentially take on someone like Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, Yanni Gourde, or Braydon Coburn. Those are the names currently out there as potential trade casualty options.

I don’t know, Steven, there’s a lot of postseason going on!

It’s been so long.

That’s it for today, Sunday was a very slow news day. Cheers to a good Monday, and don’t forget to vote if you can!