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Lightning Round: Catching up with the news around the NHL

Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Lightning via their Twitter (@TBLightning)

It’s been awhile since we’ve checked in on what’s going on around the league. Granted, there isn’t much going on with all of the big name free agents off of the board, but there are some lingering trade rumors out there. Right now, it’s mostly keeping an eye on some of the big name restricted free agents to see how their negotiations are going.

For instance, up in Boston, Jeremy Swayman is working with the Bruins on a new contract [Stanley Cup of Chowder]. Neither the club or the goaltender chose to file for arbitration so it seems things aren’t too acrimonious. Of course, it also means other teams could offer sheet the future Vezina contender, but c’mon, it’s the NHL, no one is going to do that.

Another RFA that was eligible for arbitration but didn’t file was Utah’s Barrett Hayton. The 24-year-old center agreed to a two-year deal with the club for a total of $5.3 million [NHL.com]. Mikhail Sergachev’s new teammate is a solid middle-six forward who can now take his teammates out for sushi at Takashi.

Not only are RFAs signing deals, but so are first-round draft picks. With Konsta Helenius signing in Buffalo [Die By the Blade] 11 of the 32 first-round picks have signed their entry-level deals, including the top three picks. Does that mean they’re all heading to the NHL next season? Not necessarily. The players that are in the CHL can still go back to their junior leagues and have their contracts slide a year as long as they don’t appear in 10 or more NHL game, which is what the Lightning did with Ethan Gauthier last year.

For the college players, like Macklin Celebrini, it’s a different story. Once they sign their deal, they lose their college eligibility. Even after he was drafted there was some speculation that the overall number one pick might return to Boston University for his sophomore year. Now that he signed his ELC that option has been removed (he can, however, be assigned to the AHL). [Fear the Fin]

So how does that affect the Tampa Bay Lightning? Well, Jack Harvey just lost his center man. The Bolts 2023 7th-round pick jumped up to BU’s top line midway through the season and excelled, finishing the season with 7 goals and 8 assists in 20 games as a freshman. He’ll have to adjust to a new linemate this fall.

For the record, the Lightning have not signed any of their draft picks as of yet. With a couple of overages and some Europeans it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for them to toss an entry-level contract out there.

Speaking of tossing contracts around, it looks like the Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t going to go down the same road as the Lightning with their star center. The Athletic is reporting that the Pens and Sidney Crosby are close to announcing a new contract for the future Hall of Famer. The rumored deal for Jake Guentzel’s former center is for about $10 million a year for three years.

The Pens’ modern-day rivals also made the news as the Washington Capitals announced that Chris Patrick has been promoted to the role of general manager with Brian MacLellan overseeing all hockey operations. [RMNB] As the organization’s associate general manager Patrick helped oversee the back-to-back Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears.

So how can we tie this to the Lightning? Hmmm… well Patrick played for Princeton during the 1997-98 season picking up one goal in 12 games. His teammate that season – Lightning assistant coach Jeff Halpern!

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