We put out the call for questions and some of y’all responded.
Here we go:
TarcyDucker: How are the Lightning going to be cap compliant?
The way they usually do - judicious use of Long Term Injury Relief. As of right now Cap Friendly projects them at being $7,195,833 over the cap. Yes, that’s the highest number in the league (Washington is next at $6,321,666).
The number is a bit misleading though. It does not include the LTIR that they are going to get from Lightning legend Brent Seabrook ($6,875,000). That leaves them a few hundred thousand dollars over, but with Anthony Cirelli ($4,800,000) and Zach Bogosian ($850,000) still recuperating from their off-season surgeries they will likely start the season on LTIR as well they will clear the cap threshold with no problem at all.
Cap Friendly includes seven defensemen on the Lightning roster, which is what the Bolts will probably roll with. They don’t have a replacement for Cirelli calculated in, but it’s likely to be one of the youngsters from the Syracuse Crunch like Lucas Raymond, Cole Koepke, or Grant Mishmash. With the three players on LTIR there is plenty of room to absorb any of those contracts. Heck, they might have two extra players.
Once Cirelli and Bogosian are back the Lightning will need to clear some space and that will likely involve Haydn Fleury or Cal Foote. It’s likely that Fleury ($762,500) will be put on waivers with the intention of sending him to Syracuse. If the newcomer outplays Foote, Julien BriseBois could explore a trade option involving Foote which would free up $850,000.
The nice thing about the forwards is that the most likely candidates (Koepke, Raymond, and Mishmash) are all waivers-exempt. They can be sent back to Syracuse without the fear of another team claiming them.
That’s a high-level look at the situation, as always there are nuances with cap manipulation that we might have missed, but it gives you an idea of the plan. Any time LTIR is involved, it’s a fine line for a GM to walk in regards to maintaining the roster. There just isn’t a lot of room for things to go wrong. If players pick up nagging injuries that are enough to keep them out of a game, but not serious enough to put them on LTIR, the Bolts might have to run a few games short on players.
With limited cap space and an empty cupboard of future assets it’s likely that there won’t be many major adjustments to the roster come trade deadline time. The players they go into opening night with (less Cirelli and Bogosian) are pretty much what you will see all season long. So pray to whatever deity you believe in for continued good health.
EvergladesUgly: Any updates on Brayden Point, Anthony Cirelli, and Zach Bogosian rehab?
There hasn’t been much out there since the beginning of free agency when Julien BriseBois talked about the injuries and surgeries. Brayden Point should be good to go at the start of the season. Mr. BriseBois had said after the playoffs that Point only needed a “few more weeks” to recover. The good news is that it shouldn’t affect his off-season training and there won’t be any lingering issues once training camp starts.
As for Cirelli and Bogosian, their returns are a little murkier. After the surgeries the rehab time was reported as “4-6 months”. At the very best that would put them back on the ice in mid-November and mid-January at the worst.
We’ll probably get an update once camp gets underway next month. At this point the only thing we would likely hear is if one of them has a setback. So the fact that we haven’t heard anything is probably a good sign.
With the two of them on the sideline, it does open some position battles in training camp, not only to make the roster, but on the lines themselves. It’s likely we’ll see a ton of different line combinations throughout preseason and the early weeks of the regular season. The only real lock is Nikita Kucherov on the top line. Every other spot is open for competition.
dctill: Why did the Lightning decide not to offer Sammy Walker a contract? When he has been at camps the previous years he has really stood out and I thought he might be a pretty decent prospect.
I agree with you and was really curious on how his game would translate at the pro level. He wasn’t always flashy, but he was in the right place at the right time making the right play. Walker seemed like the prototype Lightning forward so it’s intriguing that they didn’t wrap him up once the college season was over.
It does take two to tango, though. It’s possible that Walker didn’t want to sign with the Lightning. Erik Erlendsson mentioned this in a Tweet earlier this month. Walker may have looked at the Lightning roster and prospects and felt that there was a quicker path to the NHL for him. Tampa Bay doesn’t like to rush their prospects through the system and he would likely have spent at least one season in Syracuse. There is reportedly a lot of interest in him and there may be an opportunity for him to compete for a NHL spot this fall.
elseldo (via Twitter): Where can I buy one of those amazing storm jerseys?
As soon as I find out, you will be the first person I tell, my friend in good fashion taste. However, lets make sure they are actually going with the Storm Jersey for the Reverse Retro this year. After all, the news that was circulating around the interwebs a couple of weeks ago was from an independent source. The team itself has been, as they usually are with these things, quiet about it.
They’ve revealed alternate jerseys in different ways during the Vinik Era. The “Disrupt the Night” sweaters weren’t revealed and available for purchase until the team skated out in them for the first game they wore them (February 7th, 2019).
For the initial Reverse Retro jerseys during the 2020-21 season, they released the design on November 16th and had them on sale at that point. That was pretty much a league-wide release for all of the teams that participated. It was also during the first year of the pandemic when time lost all meaning.
The Stadium Series jersey was released on December 2nd after months of speculation. Plenty of time for shoppers to get their order in before the game took place in late February. While I was mixed on the actual design of the jersey (it was perfectly fine in my opinion) the release video was fantastic.
It is possible that the Lightning could choose to release the jersey details at a Fan Fest, something the previous regime did when they redesigned the uniforms. Which leads to the next question:
Meg Bailey (vias Twitter): Will there be a FanFest this year?
Nothing has been announced yet, but I would imagine they will hold some sort of FanFest or Launch Weekend (like they did last year). It would make sense to couple the festivities with training camp. It’ll be one of the few times all of the players and most of the prospects will be in one place for autographs, photo sessions, question and answer sessions, etc.
The weekend of September 23rd-25th would seem to make sense (and break up training camp a bit for the players). It’s before they head off on their preseason games, but after camp starts.
If we hear anything we will let you know.
Thank you for the questions. We’ll host a few more of these throughout the season.