Quick Strikes: Erik Karlsson on the verge of coming to the Tampa Bay Lightning, per reports

We peruse the real and fake rumors of yesterday to hopefully find some clear footing this morning as a decision looms

The Bolts

We are in the eye of the storm. Erik Karlsson becoming a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning feels imminent. Here is a quick rundown of yesterday (minus all of the fake rumors that surrounded the day) in Tweet form.

(Pierre LeBrun’s handle is @PierreVLeBrun and he has 706k followers. Please check those two things before sharing anything :) )

And as we wake up this Friday morning, we get an update on where everyone stands regarding Karlsson’s inevitable move. According to Elliotte Friedman and Erik Erlendsson, the trade isn’t finalized yet, but we are damn close to people putting pen to paper and Erik Karlsson becoming a Bolt.

In confirmed news, the Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed their fourth-line center from last year, Cedric Paquette, to a one-year $1 million deal. [Raw Charge]

Paquette is coming off of a two-year contract with a $812,500 cap hit. This contract represents a small bump in pay for the fourth line center. While his point production has dropped off, and injuries have been an issue for the hard playing grinder, Paquette is a useful piece to have on the team.

Also, our friendly neighborhood giraffe is a duck now. Seriously. Unrestricted free agent Andrej Sustr has signed a $1.3 million deal for one year with the Anaheim Ducks. Please read our ode to Sustr, who will be deerly missed. [Raw Charge]

I’m sorry, no more animal humor from now on. I promise!

Tampa Bay Lightning defender Andrej Sustr bid farewell to the team today via an Instagram post. His message states in part, “Thank you @tblightning for the opportunity I have been given over the past 5 years. But most importantly, Thank you to the people of Tampa and the Bay Area for providing me with such an amazing environment to live in and grow. #grateful”

This wasn’t a zoo, Andrej!

Moving on from a player who has mooved, to a player who might this off-season. Slater Koekkoek has had a choppy and underwhelming career with the Lightning, LoserPoints looks at what reasonable expectations are for the 24-year-old left-defenseman. [Raw Charge]

Koekkoek fills the role of “high draft pick who fans want to see more of but the coaches don’t seem to trust” for the Lightning. Every team has at least one of these players. After bursting on to the NHL scene during the Eastern Conference Finals in 2016, Koekkoek seemed headed for regular playing time in a Lightning defensive group desperate for talent.

The Prospects

Gilles Bouchard was supposed to coach Team Canada’s U18 summer roster, but he was snatched up by the Syracuse Crunch as an assistant coach, so they brought in an even more french guy, André Tourigny, to replace him. [Canadian Hockey League]

Hockey Canada announced that André Tourigny (Nicolet, Que./Ottawa, OHL)will take over behind the bench of Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team following the departure of Gilles Bouchard, who has accepted an assistant coach position with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League.

There’s more to the NHL Draft than awkwardly sitting in your seat for hours on end, until you get to stumble up to a podium in order to shake a bunch of older men’s hands and put a jersey on top of a suit. Here’s a look at Gabriel Fortier’s day behind the scenes of the Draft.

The Game

The Detroit Red Wings and Andreas Athanasiou have avoided arbitration and have agreed to terms on a two-year $3 million AAV contract extension. In other news, imagine being as bad as the Red Wings and STILL having to bridge-deal young players. [Winging it in Motown]

Despite a bit of an upset year, Athanasiou finds himself getting a favorable raise. For the Red Wings, they’re probably happy to avoid arbitration, or another holdout like last offseason. This means the Red Wings have roughly $9 million to re-sign Anthony Mantha, and Dylan Larkin. There’s a good chance both forwards receive a bridge-like deal.

Brandon Saad for Justin Faulk? The Chicago Blackhawks and Carolina Hurricanes could’ve done something dramatic if they had followed through with this. [Second City Hockey]

Saad, a 25-year-old left winger, scored 18 goals and 35 points in 82 games this past season in his return to Chicago from Columbus in the Artemi Panarin trade. Saad’s Corsi For percentage of 56.04 was the third highest in his six seasons, while his 13.01 high-danger chances per 60 minutes were fourth.

The Columbus Blue Jackets made a pair of signings yesterday:

First, they extended 25-year-old Boone Jenner for four more years at $3.75 million. Funny, he was always much younger in my head. [Sportsnet]

“Being there for five years, I knew that’s where I wanted to be, especially with the team we’ve got and the way things are going and what we’re building,” he said. “It’s something I’ve been a part of and want to continue to be a part of.”

They also became the landing spot for winger Anthony Duclair, who signed a one-year, $650,000 contract with the Cannons. [Sportsnet]

This is the fourth team of Duclair’s young career. The forward has seen his stock fall since a productive rookie season in 2015-16, which saw him register 20 goals and 44 points in 81 games with the Arizona Coyotes after being dealt to the desert by the New York Rangers.