Good morning and welcome to the first day of the 2022-23 NHL regular season! The Tampa Bay Lightning are going to kick things off against the New York Rangers tonight at Madison Square Garden with the hopes of eventually claiming their third Stanley Cup in four years. Or at the very least reach the Stanley Cup Final for the fourth year in a row, a feat that hasn’t been seen since the 70s and 80s dynasty Canadiens and Islanders.
As always in a salary cap league, the Bolts roster looked funky yesterday as the deadline for teams to become compliant hit. Philippe Myers was sent down and Pierre-Cédric Labrie got an NHL contract at a very specific number all so the Lightning could be $33 within the cap ceiling so the ACSL (read: new cap ceiling while in LTIR) could as close to $82.5 million as possible.
#Lightning roster is set:— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) October 11, 2022
Cap Hit: $89,374,967
Cap Space: $0 ($6,874,967 in LTIR Use)
Roster Size: 21 (13F - 6D - 2G)
Injured Reserve: 2
LTIR: 1 (Seabrook: $6,875,000)
Tampa Bay's new LTIR upper limit/ACSL is $82,499,967, which is $33 from the max.https://t.co/52PD1TjGCI
They achieved this, and will probably be putting Cirelli and Bogosian on LTIR today. I talk about the other less likely scenario a little later, but for now the Lightning should have $4.45 million in cap space to work with the 22-player roster they desire. Note: it is possible to have a compliant roster without Bogosian on LTIR and $3.6 million in space — he can just be on IR should the team choose to do that. Cirelli, however, will need to go on LTIR in order to promote Koepke and Myers.
On Ian Cole’s suspension, he is on the cap but away from the team pending an investigation. Officially, he’s counted towards the 22 players and his $3 million is against the cap, but he won’t be playing. That contract is stuck where it is and LTIR/IR is not available.
Steven Stamkos - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Nick Paul - Brandon Hagel
Cole Koepke - Vladislav Namestnikov - Ross Colton
Pat Maroon - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry
Victor Hedman - Cal Foote
Mikhail Sergachev - Erik Cernak
Haydn Fleury - Philippe Myers
Some notes on the roster: Sergachev missed the final preseason game of the season he was scheduled to play in due to an injury. He’s expected to play the opener, but in case he is unable to go, Nick Perbix can be called up to fill in. The Lightning will be at 23 players at that point and would need to use IR to open up another roster spot should that be necessary. Stamkos was also questionable, but Gabriel Fortier is already on the roster just in case.
This is the state of the cap sheet for today, but what’s going to happen when Bogosian and Cirelli are healthy? Both players are currently rehabbing matching shoulder surgeries that were expected to keep them out until mid-November. This comes close to the 10 games and 24 days minimum players need to be on LTIR for in order for its use. If put on LTIR (they are not there as of yesterday), their return could at the earliest be November 3rd vs Carolina. In this scenario, two of Fleury, Fortier, and Koepke would have to be reassigned.
However, neither Cirelli or Bogosian is on LTIR yet, they’re just on regular IR. If we are to believe the Lightning for not putting either player on LTIR, this indicates they could be back sooner than expected. Without them on LTIR making the cap work for the first game is extremely tricky, and impossible for the roster Koepke and Myers were promised to be on.
If the Lightning really wanted Cirelli and Bogosian ready sooner, they can play one skater short (presumably Koepke at 3LW) in move that would allow them to bring up a free “emergency exemption” player up from the minors until Cirelli is back. But that can only happen for Game 2 of the season. This is actually something the Leafs are doing with John Tavares (injured) and Nick Robertson (minors) for their opening games. That’s where I learned about this idea.
To summarize, the options for the Lightning are LTIR Cirelli (and Bogosian) and make them wait 24 days, or IR Cirelli (and Bogosian) and play short for one game.
Which option do the Lightning choose today?
This poll is closed
LTIR Cirelli (and Bogosian) and make them wait 24 days
IR Cirelli (and Bogosian) and play short for one game
Another idea, but it involves stealing a Delorean
A much simpler answer I missed
The Lightning were only $33 short in perfectly maximizing their cap space which is among the best we’ve ever seen, but they were beaten by Vegas, Toronto, and Vancouver who all got even closer with their own late contract signings.
Standings (of the teams we've finished so far) on how close teams were to maxing their LTIR pools:#Canucks $0#LeafsForever $4#VegasBorn $17#Bolts $33#LetsGoOilers $165#Canes $13,916#Canadiens $305,833#NJDevils $1,791,708#ALLCAPS $2,026,216https://t.co/kUKpmQ20Vr— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) October 10, 2022
In Crunch/Solar Bears news, Dmitry Semykin is back in the ECHL in what is probably my most common Lightning Round subject in recent years. Dmitry must have enough frequent flyer miles to reach Pluto at this point.
Czechia is not happy with the NHL after defying their order to leave Russian NHLers at home when the teams came to Czechia for the Global Series.
During the weekend 2 @NHL games were played in Prague. The leadership of the NHL did not respect the position of our MFA that Russian players should not play. Until the current leaders of the NHL resign and the new apologize to our country, the NHL is no longer welcome in the ČR— Dominik Hasek (@hasek_dominik) October 10, 2022
The Seattle Kraken are not going with a captain this year after trading inaugural captain Mark Giordano last season. Instead they’ll be one of six teams without a captain this season. Here is the list, but can you guess all six teams first? Bonus point for recognizing the team that announced their captain recently but who isn’t reflected on the list yet.