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Lightning Round: Still a few folks without contracts out there

Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

Even with their sudden player swap this week, the Tampa Bay Lightning are pretty set when it comes to their roster. Everyone they are expecting to be on the roster has a contract. A couple of teams haven’t quite hit that goal just yet. With less than two weeks to go for most teams before training camps open there are still a few restricted free agents left negotiating with their respective clubs.

Anaheim Ducks

Jamie Drysdale and Trevor Zegras

While Troy Terry secured the bag with a 7-year deal, Drysdale (21) and Zegras (22) have yet to come to terms yet. It seems Zegras is heading towards a short-term bridge deal while Drysdale might be able to come to terms with a long-term deal as he’s likely the cornerstone of their future defense. He is coming off an injury so there is a small chance they find common ground on a one-year deal before signing a maximum-length deal. Anaheim has the cap space to bring both under contract, so it’s likely just a matter of ironing out some details before camp starts.

Ottawa Senators

Shane Pinto and Egor Sokolov

On the flip side, the Ottawa Senators are up against the cap and need to find a way to fit Pinto, a 22-year-old who scored 20 goals last season, under the cap. Most prognosticators have him signing a two-year deal around $1.25 million AAV which would require a little roster shuffling for the Senators. Sokolov is a fan favorite, but will likely split time between the AHL and NHL, so his deal doesn’t present quite as many problems for the Senators.

Minnesota Wild

Calen Addison

A 23-year-old, right-shot defender who put up 29 points in 60+ games isn’t someone who the team is going to let walk out the door. There is a mutual need as Addison could find himself running the Wild’s power play from the point while slotting in on the second or third pairing. Minnesota has about $1.6 million in cap space so they can give him a pretty good raise over his $795,000 cap hit and still have a little room left over. Of the players listed, he’s probably the one that will sign the dotted line first.

There are a few others out there like Jan Jenik (Arizona) and Tim Berni (Columbus) but they aren’t considered key cogs in their team’s plans for this season. Jenik may be seeking a trade, but would also be open to playing in Europe if it comes to that.

Lightning / NHL News

Lightning sign Tyler Motte [Raw Charge]

A hardworking, physical forward who can also kill penalties, Motte should be a solid fit on the fourth line.

Josh Archibald clears waivers [Chris Johnston Twitter]

As expected, since it seems he doesn’t plan on playing hockey next season, Archibald cleared waivers without being claimed. The Lightning can now terminate his contract and not be on the hook for the cap hit while Archibald will officially be an unrestricted free agent.

Every team’s worst contract for the 2023-24 season [Bleacher Report]

I’m sure the fan base has other opinions, but Bleacher Report picks Erik Cernak’s deal as the “worst” contract on the team. Their reasoning is based more on his health than his playing ability so it’s not all bad. Oddly enough three former Lightning players (Ryan McDonagh, JT Miller, and Barclay Goodrow) also made the list.

One burning question for every team heading into training camp [The Athletic]

Is Victor Hedman washed, or will he bounce back? That’s The Athletic‘s question for the Lightning as they head into camp in a couple of weeks. With a bit of a rest this summer I would bet on him regaining his defensive touch.

Andrew Ladd announces retirement [Twitter]

Another Atlanta Thrasher calls it a career. The 16-year veteran retires with 256 goals and 294 assists in 1001 career games with five different teams. He won the Stanley Cup as a rookie with the Carolina Hurricanes and then added another one with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010. He hit the 20+ goal mark six times in his career while receiving a handful of Selke votes over the years.

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