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Lightning Round: Tampa Bay releases opening night roster

Brayden Point is pictured following through on a shot in a darkened arena.
Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Lightning via their Twitter account (@TBLightning)

Meet your 2023-24 Tampa Bay Lightning. Well, at least for salary cap purposes.

There aren’t really any surprises on on the roster based on how things were shaping up at the end of training camp. Walterri Merela is the lone rookie (Matt Tomkins is too old to qualify according to the NHL) while Jonas Johansson, Calvin de Haan, Austin Watson, Conor Sheary, Tyler Motte, and Luke Glendening will make their Lightning debuts at some point this season.

There may be a few tweaks left (Merela technically will be paper transacted to Syracuse) after Andrei Vasilevskiy is added to Long Term Injury Relief and the Bolts have some cap room, but they are at the 23 player limit to the roster so don’t expect too much altering. Both Gabriel Fortier and Zach Bogosian cleared waivers yesterday and would be eligible for recall later this week if the Bolts want to do that, but again, chances are what you see is what the team will start the season with.

Good luck to the team!

Lightning / NHL News

Lightning sign Austin Watson [Raw Charge]

Watson’s signing allowed the Lightning to use the majority of the relief provided by Brent Seabrook’s contract. He will fit in as the 12th/13th forward as a Pat Maroon-type player.

Isaac Howard tops the Top 25 Under 25 Rankings [Raw Charge]

Ice Man is our consensus top player under 25 in the organization. It was a tough start to his college career, but he will look to bounce back with his new team and show Lightning fans what he can bring to the team a few years down the road.

McDonagh ready for emotional return [NHL.com]

Mac will play his first game in an opponent’s uniform at Amalie Arena since his trade from the Lightning prior to last season (he was hurt during Nashville’s visit last year). Should be a fun game for him.

Winnipeg signs Connor Hellebuyck and Mark Scheifle [Arctic Ice Hockey]

At the beginning of the summer it looked like both players were on the trading block as they were set to enter the final year of their contracts. Instead, the Winnipeg Jets signed both players to matching 7-year, $8.5 AAV deals. Looks like they’ll be around for awhile.

Rasmus Dahlin got paid [Die By the Blade]

Speaking of extensions, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin signed an 8-year, $11 million AAV deal on Monday. The 23-year-old is viewed as a cornerstone for the up-and-coming Sabres and joins Tage Thompson, Dylan Cousins, and Mattias Samuelsson as Buffalo players that are wrapped up long term.

Pyotr Kochetkov expected to be loaned to Syracuse Crunch [Kevin Weekes]

Since the Carolina Hurricanes don’t have an AFL affiliate, they are spreading their prospects out across the entire land of hockey. One of those prospects, goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov, is expected to end up with the Syracuse Crunch to start the season. Just to be clear, Kochetkov remains the property of the Hurricanes, so the Lightning can’t call him up to the roster. The 24-year-old will split time with Hugo Alnefelt with the Crunch for the beginning of the season. It will be interesting to see what happens when Vasilevskiy is healthy and Tomkins is sent back down.

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