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Lightning Round: On the eve of free agency the Lightning sign...Jeff Blashill

And the Malkin to Tampa dream is dead

Detroit Red Wings v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Five Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images

It was long assumed that Jeff Blashill, the former Detroit Red Wings head coach, would be joining longtime friend Jon Cooper behind the bench in Tampa. Those rumors gained steam once Derek Lalonde left Tampa for Motor City. On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Lightning made the move official, announcing that the 48-year-old would be joining the team as an assistant coach.

“I’ve had the opportunity to coach a lot of different players, a lot of elite-level, high-level players. I think that experience, and hopefully my skillset can help me bring value to this team in Tampa.”

As of right now the staff, which still includes Jeff Halpren and Rob Zettler as assistants, hasn’t ironed out the responsibilities that Blashill will take over, but he acknowledged that he is willing to push back a little if need be and engage in “heated” discussions should they arise. It’s a role that Lalonde embraced and was really good at.

Having a new set of eyes behind the bench could be a benefit for the Lightning, especially one that spent the last seven years gameplanning against Tampa Bay. Honestly, it’s kind of amazing that the Lightning were able to keep their staff together as long as they did. Success of the type that they’ve had over the last eight seasons usually results in all of the assistants being poached by other organizations.

To be able to head a former NHL head coach, one that had success at pretty much every level except for the NHL at that, is a nice perk for the Lightning. Whatever role he does play for Coach Cooper, Blashill should excel at it.

Lightning / NHL News

Well, this is just a little sad.

While Palat looks to possibly move on, the future of the Lightning is currently skating in Brandon.

There will likely be a new member of the Lightning defensive unit. Could they go with a player looking to prove themselves?

Joining Ondrej Palat in today’s free agent frenzy is Johnny Gaudreau. The long-time Calgary Flame announced he would not be returning to the only organization he has ever known.

The Pittsburgh Penguins waited until the last minute, but they finally re-signed Evgeni Malkin to a four-year deal. Word on the street is that Sidney Crosby got involved after negotiations stalled earlier this week. Rack up another assist for Sid the Kid

How about a Free Agency Eve trade? It was a good ol’ fashioned goalie swap as the Minnesota Wild sent Cam Talbot to Ottawa in exchange for Filip Gustavsson. The Wild get a young netminder that can take over for Marc-Andre Fleury while Talbot gets the heck out of a city he wanted no more part of. Could the Senators be frisky next season? Might they be a player on the free agent market?

I refuse to actually predict who the Lightning might sign today, but doesn’t Rudolfs Balcers sound like the type of player they would sign cheap and then have him go off for 22 goals and dominating possession stats?

The Premier Hockey Federation is expanding. Montreal is joining the league as their seventh franchise starting this season.

Your non-hockey link of the day. This stuff is just freakin’ amazing.