Quick Strikes: Are the Tampa Bay Lightning still in the John Tavares sweepstakes?


The Bolts

JT is coming to Tampa Bay! Just kidding, the Tampa Bay Lightning have extended winger J.T. Miller to a five-year, $5.25 million contract. [Raw Charge]

His signing also makes me feel that it is unlikely that the Lightning will be landing John Tavares in free agency. Signing Tavares now would mean looking elsewhere to find the salary cap room for Tavares. While trading Braydon Coburn is still an option to open up some immediate cap room, it could mean moving on from Brayden Point, or dare I say Nikita Kucherov. And that just seems like a bad idea.

Following this news, it has been widely discussed that the Lightning are now essentially out of the JT sweepstakes, but the team has made it clear that if Tavares wants to come, the team will make space for him.

Martin St. Louis is heading to the Hockey Hall of Fame!!!!!! [Raw Charge]

On Monday, former Tampa Bay Lightning captain Martin St. Louis was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. The franchise leader in assists (588), points (953), short-handed goals (28), game-winning goals (64) and hat tricks (8), becomes the first player elected to the Hall of Fame that spent the majority of his career in Tampa.

Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment have hired Lorisse Garcia, a former Orlando Magic executive, to run their recruiting and development programs. [Tampa Bay Business Journal]

“We are pleased that Lorisse has opted to join the organization on a full-time basis,” Steve Griggs, CEO of TBSE and the Lightning, said in a statement. “In her time consulting for Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment and the Lightning, she has helped us concentrate on talent recruiting, employee coaching and development. As the leader of this reimagined department, we look for her to drive the employee experience to new heights, helping every individual achieve his or her potential while enjoying the daily workplace.”

The Tampa Bay Lightning are getting their first look at the $8 million (privately funded) upgrades to the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon this week. [Tampa Bay Times]

The team will still use the same ice at the facility, but now there is an 18,000-square-foot addition on the north end of the building, including new locker rooms, weight rooms, training room and an expanded player lounge. The previous facility had covered about 5,500 square feet, and the project grew from its original commitment of $6 million last summer.

The Prospects

In our second installment of “Get to know our 2018 Draft Class!” we look at top pick Gabriel Fortier. Low upside, but dynamic all around the ice. [Raw Charge]

Geo pointed out Fortier’s good hockey sense, and compared his potential to Mathieu Joseph. loserpoints, while a little disappointed the Bolts didn’t reach for a forward with more proven high end scoring ability, pointed out that Fortier’s high hockey IQ and high effort at his position is textbook Lightning draft plan.

The Crunch have scooped up Gilles Bouchard, the GM and coach of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL, to be one of Benoit Groulx’s assistant coaches. He replaces Jeff Halpern in that position. [Raw Charge]

The Lightning have obviously liked what they have witnessed a four-coach system do with their AHL club, as it was announced Tuesday that Gilles Bouchard has been hired to replace Halpern. Bouchard, 47, was the general manager and head coach of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He has also been an assistant coach twice and head coach once for Canadian Teams at the U17 level. He was supposed to be the head coach for Canada in the Hlinka Memorial Cup this year.

The Game

Along with Marty, Willie O’Ree, Martin Brodeur, Jayna Hefford, Alexander Yakushev, and Gary Bettman (boo) have been announced as the 2018 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees. [TSN]

O’Ree will be the third black player in the Hall, joining Edmonton Oilers goalie Grant Fuhr and Canadian women’s national team captain Angela James.

”I was laughing and I was crying,” O’Ree said. “I’m just so happy that I’m alive to be able to share this.

”There’s not enough words to say how pleased I am.”

More on O’Ree, because he freaking deserves it. [Sportsnet]

“Willie paved the path for the rest of us,” said former goaltender Grant Fuhr. “In that way he is a true builder of the game. If you look up the word ‘builder’ there should be a picture of Willie. He is the Jackie Robinson of hockey.”

Jayna Hefford is an icon in hockey, especially to young women who are aspiring to achieve what she did in her career. You can find that and more in this week’s edition of Womens Hockey Wednesday over at sister site PPP. [Pension Plan Puppets]

And now Bettman. There has been a lot of pushback to seeing NHL commissioner Bettman making the list. He may have grown the game in southern USA, but there are a lot of dark spots on his career in hockey, namely concussions. [CTV News]

“I can’t get over what a slap in the face this must be to the families of Steve Montador, Rick Rypien, Derek Boogaard, Bob Probert & Wade Belak,” Carcillo tweeted , referencing five former players who were suffering from brain damage and died prematurely by causes that included overdose and suicide. “Gary Bettman had a hand in every death by withholding info about the risks of doing their job.”