The Tampa Bay Lightning crossed off another item on the offseason checklist as they extended contract offers to seven of their Restricted Free Agents. Alex Barre-Boulet, Ross Colton, Boris Katchouk, Taylor Raddysh, Otto Somppi, Sean Day, and Cal Foote all received qualifying offers from the club. Starting today, other clubs have the ability to start chatting with the RFAs about possibly extending an offer sheet (always talked about, but never happens) and then on the 28th RFAs can start accepting the deals.
The seven players who were sent the QO’s were pretty much no-brainers. If there was a little more depth in the system on defense, Sean Day may not have received an offer, but since they are a little light on defense, it makes sense to at least keep him from leaving in free agency right away.
Five of the players do not have arbitration rights so it’s pretty much take the offer the Lightning put out there, hope some other team sends them an offer sheet, or sit out the start of the season. The two players that have arbitration rights are Barre-Boulet and Colton so they have a little bit more control of their situation, but not much. One interesting note is that if either of them elects to go to arbitration, that could trigger a second buyout period for the Lightning (the first one ends today). If Julien BriseBois can’t find a taker for some of his higher contracts, that second buyout session could come in hand.
For the most part the players should sign their deals at some point this summer. With the exception of Somppi and Day, the other players all have a legitimate shot at making the team and contributing. Foote should be the third pairing defenseman while Colton could be the third line center. Barre-Boulet, Raddysh, and Katchouk all could be in line to fill out the empty spots left by the departing forwards.
It’s not the sexiest part of the offseason, but it could be vital for the Lightning as they are going to need some of these lower-cost players to play some important minutes.
The two players in the organization that did not receive offers were Dominik Masin and Ryan Lohin. Masin spent last season in Europe and is unlikely to return to North America any time soon. Not qualifying Lohin was an interesting move as it looked like the young center was progressing as the season wore on. He split time between Orlando and Syracuse last season and ended up putting up 15 points (7 goals, 8 assists) in 25 games for the Crunch.
It is possible that with the influx of new talent coming into the organization the Lightning brass might not see a spot for him on the roster so they want to make sure he has as much time as possible to find a new team. They also have the opportunity to sign him to a deal in regular free agency that isn’t tied to salary structure set up by the restricted free agency process.
Lightning and Hockey Links
As our favorite anthem singer continues to battle the COVID-19 delta variant, a GoFundMe has been set up to help her with her medical costs. As of the time of this writing, roughly $11,000 has been raised towards the goal of $15,000. There is also a t-shirt that you can purchase with all proceeds helping Bryson-Kirkey. Both links are in the article above.
Since 2011, though a lockout and a pandemic, the Vinik Foundation has made their Community Heroes program, in which they donate $50,000 to a local charity at every home game, a hallmark part of their involvement in the Tampa area. That program will continue for at least another five years. Best owner in hockey.
TJ and the Stanley Cup are heading to the Evergreen State. He’s taking it home to Spokane on Thursday (which is also his birthday) to celebrate his day with the Cup.
With his playing time decreasing in Florida and the Panthers needing some salary cap space, the Panthers struck a deal with the Coyotes for old friend Anton Stralman. The veteran defenseman, prospect Vladislav Kolyachonok, and a second round pick in 2024 went to the desert for a 2023 seventh round pick. That’s a straight up salary dump. Stralman should see a little more ice time in Arizona and Florida has some cap room to sign their RFAs such as...
The young center is staying in Sunrise for another four years after he signed a new contract worth $17.7 million ($4.425 AAV). They’re putting together a pretty strong set of forwards south of Tampa. We’ll see if they can tie it all together and compete with the Lightning again next season.
Hearing Luke Schenn connected to the Vancouver #Canucks on a two-year deal.— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) July 27, 2021
While it would hurt the Lightning’s depth if Schenn doesn’t re-sign, it’s nice to see him garnering multi-year interest from other teams. As for any getting excited about possible tampering charges (there is no negotiating period for outside teams prior to free agency this year), it’s possible that the Lightning allowed his agents to explore deals with other teams prior to the official start of free agency. They are notoriously tight-lipped about their dealings so it’s not surprising that they wouldn’t let the new leak out that they’re letting their pending UFAs explore other options.