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Lightning Round: Tampa Bay started their offseason with extending Nick Paul

Amir Miftakhov was placed on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a buyout.

2022 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Four Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Lightning have aggressively started their offseason with intentions to sign all their UFAs and have indicated a willingness to trade Ryan McDonagh to clear some cap space. The first domino fell yesterday as the Lightning announced extended forward Nick Paul for seven more years.

Since being acquired by the Lightning at the last trade deadline, Paul has proven himself as a great fit for the team and impressed everyone in the playoffs, where he played probably his best hockey in his career, scoring 9 (5+4) points in 23 games. A seven year term seems a little bit too much for a 27-year-old depth player such as Paul, but as Geo thinks with the salary cap potentially rising in few years it’s a appropriate deal [Raw Charge]

The seven year term on the deal is a little bit concerning though. It’s usually not a good idea to sign depth guys to such deals. For Paul, this will mean that he’ll be 34 at the end of the contract and will likely be at or at least very near the end of his NHL career by the time the contract is over (or perhaps before). However, if that’s what it took to get this lower cap hit from him than some were projecting he could get as a free agent, I’m fine with taking that risk. Especially considering that the salary cap should rise by a very large amount over the course of this contract.

Over the next seven years Paul will make around $22 million with an average annual value of $3.15 million. Reportedly earlier this year Paul turned down a four-year, $2.5 million offer by the Ottawa Senators before being traded to Tampa Bay. For the first four years of his new contract, Paul will have a full no-trade clause and a limited NTC (with a 16-team no-trade list) for the last three years of the contract.

Nick Paul himself is very happy to stay in Tampa Bay for seven more years.

Another piece of Tampa-related news, which could have gone unnoticed is that the Lightning placed their goaltending prospect Amir Miftakhov on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a buyout.

Miftakhov was drafted by the Lightning in the sixth round of the 2020 NHL Draft. He spent his last season in North America, sharing time between the Lightning’s affiliates the Syracuse Crunch and the Orlando Solar Bears. In 22 games for Syracuse he recorded 3.03 GAA and .891 SV%. According to some reports, he’s expected to sign in the KHL with Ak Bars Kazan, where he played before coming to North America.

Lightning / NHL News

In annual SB Nations’ NHL Mock Draft, the Lightning selected forward Owen Beck from the Mississauga Steelheads [Raw Charge]

While nothing in his game, other than his speed, provides a big “wow” factor, Beck is more than adequate at all aspects. He plays hard all over the ice, using his speed to back check when necessary and has a tenacious willingness to defend in his own zone as well as fight for pucks in the offensive zone. The prospecting sites are definitely mixed in regards to his rankings as Dobber Prospects and Elite Prospects have him 22nd and 21st respecitvely while SMAHT Scouting has him at 41.

The Philadelphia Flyers prospect and a KHL’s top goaltender of the last season Ivan Fedotov has been arrested in St. Petersburg. Reportedly he faces up to two years in prison for evading of military service. Earlier this year Fedotov refused to extend his contract with his former team CSKA Moscow and signed an entry-level contract with the Flyers.

The Flyers’ management is aware of this situation and has been reportedly in contact with Fedotov’s camp.

Former Tampa Bay assistant coach Rick Bowness is expected to become the new head coach of the Winnipeg Jets. Bowness already served as the Jets (previous incarnation) head coach exactly 33 years ago during the 1988-89 regular season.

The Vancouver Canucks signed their forward Brock Boeser to a three-year contract with $6.65 million AAV.

The Canucks also named Mike Yeo and Trent Cull as their new assistant coaches.

Craig MacTavish is a new assistant coach of the St. Louis Blues.

The San Jose Sharks have parted their ways with head coach Bob Boughner and his coaching staff.