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Lightning Round: Key NHL dates for July

The upcoming month will be busy.

NHL: JUN 30 Stanley Cup Playoffs Final - Canadiens at Lightning Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

While the Tampa Bay Lightning are preparing for the boat parade, the offseason has already come into its full force. The upcoming month is going to be a very busy and – if you’re a Lightning fan – probably not the most enjoyable one, as the Lightning will definitely lose some players via expansion draft or the trade market. Let’s quickly remind ourselves of some of the key dates:

The first NHL buyout period has already been open 24 hours since the Stanley Cup Final. The NHL teams can buy out players who were on their rosters at the recent trade deadline, whereas the Seattle Kraken cannot buy out players, which they will select at the Expansion Draft. So far no team has used this right since the opening of buyout window. The Lightning are not expected to buy out any of their players. The first buyout period will continue until July 27, and teams with arbitration cases can have a second buyout window, which will be open three days after the last arbitration award.

One of the most important events of this offseason is obviously Seattle’s Expansion Draft. The Seattle Kraken will use basically the same rules that the Vegas Golden Knight used a few years ago. The Golden Knights are exempt from this year’s Expansion Draft. The other 30 NHL teams will have to protect either seven forwards, three defencemen and one goalie, or eight skaters and one goalie. The teams are also required to protect all players with no-movement clauses and will have time until July 13 to ask players to waive their no-move clause for the Expansion Draft. Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, Steven Stamkos, Anthony Cirelli, Mikhail Sergachev, Victor Hedman, Erik Cernak and Andrei Vasilevskiy seem like no-brainers, while all other players could be exposed in the Expansion Draft. The most popular opinion is that the Lightning will try to keep their blue line and will protect Ryan McDonagh in addition to three defencemen mentioned above, making Alex Killorn, Yanni Gourde, Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson more vulnerable.

The teams are also required to expose one defenceman, two forwards and one goaltender. The Lightning have recently re-signed goaltender Spencer Martin to a one-year deal, which gives them a goalie to expose.

The NHL teams must submit their protection lists to the league until July 17. When those lists are approved by the NHL, Seattle could begin interviewing available free agents (restricted or unrestricted, one per team). Seattle may only speak to players from the exposure list. The Kraken must submit their choices to the NHL by July 21, on the same day their selection will be officially announced. For the most detailed information about the Expansion Draft check out the guide by our colleagues from Pension Plan Puppets.

The 2021 NHL Draft will begin on July 23 with the first round. The Tampa Bay Lightning traded their first-round pick in a three-team deal this spring, which resulted in acquiring defenceman David Savard. The Lightning’s first selection of upcoming draft will be the last 96th selection of the third round.

The NHL’s free agency period will begin on July 28. As of today, the most significant Lightning restricted free agents are Cal Foote, Alex Barré-Boulet and the player who scored the Stanley Cup-clinching goal for the Lightning – Ross Colton. Amongst the unrestricted free agents are Gemel Smith, Barclay Goodrow, Blake Coleman, David Savard, Luke Schenn, Curtis McElhinney and Christopher Martin.

Lightning Links

Following his teammate Nikita Kucherov, Andrei Vasilevskiy also signed a deal with Bud Light.

Also according to agent Dan Milstein, who represents both Kucherov and Vasilevskiy, the official Salary Cap t-shirts will be revealed during tomorrow’s boat parade.

A story about Pat Maroon – the only player in modern era of the NHL to win three-straight Stanley Cups with two different teams.

Apparently the New York Rangers might be interested in acquiring Steven Stamkos? [Forever Blue Shirts]

The rumor mill is starting to churn regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning. They are way over the cap and its widely known that they need to move some pieces. Maybe some big pieces.

Depending on if they can trade players like Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn, Tampa may be forced to think bigger. Why? Because Brayden Point will be a RFA after next season and Tampa wants to lock him up to an 8 year deal in the $9 million range and up.

So could we see Steven Stamkos waive his no trade clause? Some believe it could happen. He has 3 more seasons at $8.5 million and would automatically be given the captaincy. This may seem far-fetched to read now, but if Drury misses out on Eichel and Stamkos is available, this is the move he makes.