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Lightning Round: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare signs in Seattle

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Lightning via their Twitter (@TBLightning)

We can close the book on another Tampa Bay Lightning unrestricted free agent as Pierre-Edouard Bellemare agreed on a 0ne-year, $775,000 contract with the Seattle Kraken on Friday. Bellemare will compete for a spot on the fourth line with Kraken as they look to build on their surprising playoff run last year.

After signing a two-year deal with the Lightning in the summer of 2021, the 38-year-old center posted 13 goals and 20 assists in 153 regular season games with the Bolts. In a weird statistical quirk, he now has 33 points with two separate franchises, the Lightning and the Avalanche. He also posted 34 points with the Flyers and 31 points with the Golden Knights. The man was nothing if not consistent.

Bellemare was the third of the Lightning’s four unrestricted free agents to sign with another team. Alex Killorn signed for four years in Anaheim while Ian Cole signed in Vancouver for one season. Brian Elliott has yet to sign with another team and might be pondering retirement. Another pending free agent, Corey Perry, was traded to Chicago at the NHL draft. He signed a one-year deal with them prior to free agency.

The Kraken visit the Lightning on October 30 and Bellemare is certain to receive a hearty welcome back from the crowd.

Hockey News

A look at Lightning’s offseason facelift – and what’s still to do [Tampa Bay Times]

The big lifting is still the Tanner Jeannot contract/negotiations, but Mr. BriseBois might go bargain shopping if teams are forced to use the second buyout window later this summer. While he would also like to lock up Brandon Hagel and/or Steven Stamkos, those deals aren’t necessarily urgent.

Penguins bolster forward depth [Pensburgh]

The free agent signings around the league continue to trickle in with Pittsburgh nabbing a couple of veteran forwards in Vinnie Hinostroza and Andreas Johnsson. Both signed one-year deals.

Non-playoff teams that could make it in 2023-24, and playoff teams that might miss out [Daily Face Off]

A team from our state made the “might miss” list, but it wasn’t the Lightning. With their blueline a bit of a mess due to major injuries to Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour, along with Radko Gudas Marc Staal leaving via free agency, it could be a slow start for the Panthers. Have other teams in the division improved to the point to leapfrog a team that just barely made it in last year?

Top 20 under-the-radar signings in free agency [The Hockey News]

The Lightning’s signing of Calvin de Haan comes in at #9 on this list as they consider him an upgrade over Haydn Fleury.

The cap era’s all-buyout team [The Athletic]

You know the Lightning’s buyout of Vinny Lecavalier in 2013 is on this list. Still the most expensive buyout in history at $32 million, Tampa Bay will be sending him money until 2027. Some other familiar names popped up on the list: Tony DeAngelo (Rangers 2021), Brad Richards (Rangers 2014), and Corey Perry (Ducks 2019).

Golden Knights engraved in history forever [NHL.com]

The Vegas Golden Knights had 52 names engraved on the Stanley Cup to celebrate their victory over the Florida Panthers. This is the first time in history that the names were engraved prior to the team spending their day with the Cup. That will be extra nice for them to be able to point out to their friends and family.

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