After a seemingly endless summer, the 2021-22 NHL season is finally here. Later tonight the Tampa Bay Lightning will officially kick off the season against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Lightning kick off a full 82-game season on the league’s new broadcast partner, ESPN, and their will be a few new faces on the roster when the puck drops.
Unfortunately, one face that will not be there is Alex Barré-Boulet’s. Considered by some to be the Bolts best prospect, the young forward was claimed on waivers by the Seattle Kraken. It could be a good move for both the player and the club as ABB will likely get a shot at top-six minutes and the Kraken need all the offensive help they can find.
He’ll have to get out there in a hurry because it looks like Seattle could be a little shorthanded as they deal with a potential COVID situation just days before their debut. Five players entered protocol in the last couple of days and likely won’t be available for the Kraken when they take on Vegas later tonight. Now, it is possible that these players just came into close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID. If that is the case, hopefully they pass their tests soon and are back in the line-up.
As for the Bolts, the other two players placed on waivers, Fredrik Claesson and Andrej Sustr, both cleared and will be heading to Syracuse to shore up the Crunch defense. With Gemel Smith added to Injured Reserve, the Lightning are cap compliant and Julien BriseBois did another masterful job of manipulating the salary cap:
Tampa Bay Lightning start the season on LTIR, with a near perfect ACSL:— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) October 11, 2021
Smith begins on SOIR with a reduced hit of $25,862
Subtracting LTIR cap hits (Seabrook, Smith), results in an ACSL of $81,499,288, or $712 from a perfect LTIR placement!https://t.co/aPRCdH1sKc
The salary cap doesn’t include the coaching staff, which is a really good thing for the Lightning. On Monday, they announced that Coach Cooper signed an extension to his contract that will keep him in the area for at least four more seasons. When it kicks in next season, it’ll put Coach Cooper in the upper echelon of salary for coaches (around $5.5 million) according to Pierre LeBrun. That will buy quite a bit of chewing gum.
Pittsburgh, the Lightning’s opponent tonight, will be a little shorthanded as Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel, Zach Aston-Reese, and Evgeni Malkin will be out of the line-up. One player who will suit up against the Bolts will be old friend Brian Boyle who earned a contract after joining the Penguins training camp on a try-out basis.
Congratulations on making it through the offseason and LET’S GO LIGHTNING!