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Lightning Round: a potpourri of NHL news

Player moves, opt outs, injuries, and a schedule

2020 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Four
EDMONTON, ALBERTA - SEPTEMBER 25: Brayden Point #21 of the Tampa Bay Lightning is congratulated by Nikita Kucherov #86 and Ondrej Palat #18 after scoring a goal against the Dallas Stars during the second period in Game Four of the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Place on September 25, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

An unusual bombshell dropped on the Tampa Bay Lightning as it was reported that Nikita Kucherov received an injection in his hip for an injury that could sideline him for the season. One one hand - that's really bad. On the other - LTIR space to satisfy both RFAs still on the market in Anthony Cirelli and Erik Cernak.

Now, the Lightning don’t have a choice and they would obviously never choose to sit their best player, but if the situation is forced upon them, the LTIR thing would happen. [Raw Charge]

“If you’re brave enough to read the replies to Friedman’s post (don’t read the replies, never read the replies) non-fans of the Tampa Bay Lightning are immediately crying foul and accusing the organization of circumventing the salary cap. Let’s be 100% clear here, the benefits of finagling the cap by placing Nikita Kucherov on LTIR are greatly, tremendously, outstandingly, dare I say “bigly” outweighed by what he can do for them on the ice.”

Geo wrote a story about the impending season and the availability for taxi squads. For the Lightning, there are some interesting candidates for the auxiliary group and it gives the team lots of flexibility to try guys. [Raw Charge]

“The idea of the taxi squad and the changes to emergency recalls is clear. Without going into a bubble as the NHL did for the 2019-20 playoffs, the possibility of players testing positive for COVID-19 and being unable to play is much greater (see what has happened in the NFL as an example). Having players already traveling with the team eliminates the need for bringing a player in from the AHL and having them fly commercial to make it to a game; which would obviously carry some risk of exposure for that player.”

We concluded our Top 25 Under 25 prospect ranking for the season and Brayden Point once again ended up on top. Matt goes deep into what makes Point special, it’s another great article from him. I’ll have a recap of the whole series ready for tomorrow, it’ll be similar to what I did last year. [Raw Charge]

“All hail Brayden Point.”

Hockey Links

The Arizona Coyotes were busy (ish) yesterday, signing winger Drake Caggiula to fill out an already bloated roster full of third liners.

The Yotes are also interested in bringing on Frederik Gauthier on a PTO for training camp. He’s an OK fourth line center with a great personality.

The Edmonton Oilers are officially without Oscar Klefbom due to injury. He hasn’t been the same since the team forced him to play hurt when he needed surgery a few years ago. Shocker.

The Ottawa Senators made a very minor deal with the Nashville Predators, swapping AHL forwards Michael Carcone and Zach Magwood.

The Carolina Hurricanes will be playing without fans this season.

Deadlines have been set for players to opt out from the season. Christmas Eve for the teams who didn’t take part in the Return to Play, Dec 27th for us. Stamkos?

NHL schedules are coming out soon. It’s going to look a lot like the AHL, where minimizing travel is vital. We’re going to have a lot of mini series against a very small number of teams many many times. I gotta say, this is going to provide great correlation data for advanced stats.