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Lightning Round: Tampa Bay (still) haven’t started their offseason

What are we waiting for?

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2020 NHL Draft - Round One
TAMPA, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 06: General manager Julien BriseBois of the Tampa Bay Lightning sits at the draft table during the first round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft at the Amalie Arena on October 06, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. The 2020 NHL Draft was held virtually due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
Photo by Kinsey Janke/NHLI via Getty Images

Dom Luszczyszyn broke down the offseason of all 31 NHL teams according to his game score model. Most of the teams have made changes to their rosters and mostly look like what they’ll be next season. The Tampa Bay Lightning seem to be one of the only teams that hasn’t made a move — the New York Islanders are the other one — and I’m starting to wonder when something is going to happen.

We know the story - three RFAs, no cap space, need to move someone, they all have trade clauses, etc. Julien Brisebois seems to be genuinely screwed at this moment because going down the list of 30 teams, I can’t find anyone with the cap space to take on a player from the Lightning for the term that is required. The Lightning is absolutely going to have to pay a team to take on the money since no one would even take Tyler Johnson for free when he was on waivers.

The Boston Bruins probably have the need for an Alex Killorn (he’s big and went to Harvard), but can the two competing divisional rivals come to an agreement? I would’ve thought Ottawa would’ve gone in on Tyler Johnson as they have a need for centers and cap hits in order to reach the floor, but he’s still owed $18.5 million over the next four seasons, including $5.5 in 2021-22. And then on top of that, Ottawa is probably on his no-trade list.

Maybe the Lightning are waiting for arbitration to pass, money to start circulating again, and they can make a move in early November. But at the end of the day, it appears as though no team is willing to help the Cup champs out of this jam, possibly even with a sweetener on top.

One positive thing I can glean from this quiet offseason, it’s that Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev have not entertained offer sheets from any teams. We haven’t heard a lick of news about teams offering them via the media, and we definitely haven’t seen them ask for or accept any offers. JBB has kept a tight ship here, promising to keep his prospects in the fold.

Players have also aimed for lower salary numbers in the first year of their deals in order to mask the losses from escrow this season. The Lightning can simulate that with one-year deals with both Cirelli and Sergachev at a low number, with a later contract with that “second year” raise unofficially available. Kicking the can down the road, as it were.

Lightning Links

Igor wrote about goalie prospect Amir Miftakhov. It’s a great breakdown of his game and how he’s expected to grow. I really liked it, it was really well-made. [Raw Charge]

“The Russian goalies mostly prefer to take some time before arriving to North America and stay for several seasons in Russia. Miftakhov is currently under contract till the end of the 2020-21 season, but it doesn’t mean that he comes to Syracuse immediately. I’d expect him to sign another contract in Kazan next spring for 2-4 years, establish a bigger role in the KHL and may be come to North America before he’s 25 year-old. A young Russian goaltender has already expressed a desire of going overseas before.”

Bryan Burns wrote about the Keepers of the Cup and their escapades with the Tampa Bay Lightning (2020 Stanley Cup Champs, in case you forgot). [NHL dot com]

“Pritchard is one of five people who guard and protect and shuttle the Cup from one place to the next. Pritchard was in the Edmonton bubble at the conclusion of the Cup Final - two of the southernmost teams in the NHL contesting the final in the League’s northernmost city — and carried the Cup along with Craig Campbell onto the ice before resting it on a table for the trophy presentation after the Lightning defeated the Dallas Stars in six games. He flew back to Tampa on the Bolts team charter, witnessed each player high-fiving Lightning owner Jeff Vinik as they deplaned, saw the emotional reunion of players, coaches and staff with their families on the tarmac following the lengthy postseason run spent entirely away from home.”

Stammer talked to the MLB network after the Rays loss in Game 1. And guess what? Game 2 win!

The Solar Bears have signed Stephen Johnson out of Canadian University. He previously captained the QMJHL Moncton Wildcats.