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Lightning Round: just waiting on Anthony Cirelli now...

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Technically, nothing has changed.

2020 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Three
EDMONTON, ALBERTA - SEPTEMBER 23: Victor Hedman #77 of the Tampa Bay Lightning is congratulated by Anthony Cirelli #71 after scoring a goal against the Dallas Stars during the second period in Game Three of the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Place on September 23, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

For all intents and purposes, nothing has changed for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Despite signing two defenseman yesterday, the math and the timeline for the Bolts to fix their salary cap situation hasn’t moved. They still need to clear a bunch of cap space ($6.1 million now, closer to $11 million after Anthony Cirelli signs) and do it before the start of the season. None of that has changed, we just a better idea of the actual numbers.

I’ve talked previously about the chance of a Cirelli offer sheet coming, but there are a few key reasons why it won’t happen. These recent signings haven’t changed the Lightning’s ability to combat one (offseason space and likely a handshake agreement with Cirelli). They also still have offseason cap space, and any team with the money and picks to do it would be loath to get rid of a potential lottery pick ahead of yet another very deep NHL Draft in 2021.

All of the stuff we knew was going to happen is happening, we’re just waiting for the unpredictable move: who gets dumped right after they get a ring on their finger. I discussed the possibility of an Alex Killorn trade, the Nashville Predators seem to be interested. But after seeing the numbers forJan Rutta and Erik Cernak, they’ll need at least two of the +$5 million contracts to go, at least. Even if Cirelli signs an equal contract to Sergachev (he probably gets more), dropping two players like Tyler Johnson and Yanni Gourde won’t be enough (about $800k short).

How Julien BriseBois gets through this, I still have no idea.

Lightning Links

Like I mentioned earlier, the Lightning signed Erik Cernak and Jan Rutta to contracts yesterday. Cernak will get paid $2.95 million for the next three years, and Rutta will earn $1.3 million this season, the same he got paid last year. These two pickups are great, both have been valuable contributors to the Lightning and their defense is much better for it. [Raw Charge]

“Cernak was originally a second round draft pick by the Los Angeles Kings in 2015 out of Slovakia. Cernak moved to North America following his draft year to play two seasons for the Erie Otters in the OHL. The Lightning acquired Cernak in a trade with the Kings at the 2016-17 NHL Trade Deadline that involved goaltender Ben Bishop.”

Can the Lightning trade for Henrik Zetterberg’s contract? Will it help? [Raw Charge]

“One of the rumors that has been making the rounds of late on Twitter is that the Lightning are exploring a trade with the Detroit Red Wings, sending Tyler Johnson in return for Henrik Zetterberg’s contract. The trade could also include some draft picks going in either direction, but the big part of it would be Johnson and Zetterberg.”

We had our weekly Orlando Solar Bears check-in as they’ve begun playing games. Matthew Spencer is back! And for you vintage Orlando fans, so is Garret Sparks! [Raw Charge]

“Thirteen months after being dealt to the Sabres for new teammate Devante Stephens, Spencer returns for his third season with the Solar Bears. He appeared in 3 games with Orlando and 2 with Syracuse at the beginning of the 2019-20 season before the trade, then had 1 goal and 16 assists in 39 games for Cincinnati. He also made one appearance for Rochester.”

It sounds like the Tampa Bay Lightning will be raising their banner in front of the Chicago Black Hawks this January. That’ll be some good 2015 revenge. Ugh, now I wish the triplets weren’t being kicked out the door.

You know...it just might work!

An update on how the NHL is going to handle COVID-19 positive tests during the season. It won’t be like the summer where it was almost considered sacrilege to talk about players being “unfit to play.”

Ontario, Canada is under lockdown again (and as someone who lives here, we were about a month late to do this and all our hospitals are over capacity). This means the OHL season is being pushed back again.

Noted star hockey player Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who’s had to do all the defensive dirty work on the Edmonton Oilers is getting insulted by said Oilers in contract negotiations. I know we have no cap space but if RNH wants to come to Tampa I’ll roll out the red carpet.