Quick Strikes: Is the Tampa Bay Rays new stadium a good thing or not?

And maybe we’ll discuss this dude named Nikita Kucherov.

I’m’a get to the Tampa Bay Lightning inking an eight-year contract for Nikita Kucherov in a moment. First, in a nod to our siblings over at Drays Bay, let’s take a gander at the new stadium design planned for Ybor City. Honestly, it looks very cool and very in keeping with Amalie Arena -- and maybe be a gorgeous stadium in the perfect place for some urban revival. My colleagues at Raw Charge have other opinions, however.

Rays Baseball

Tampa Bay Rays release Ybor City stadium design images [Drays Bay]

A roof is unavoidable with Florida’s heat and frequent thunder and lightning storms, but in the design, sliding glass exterior walls beyond center field and behind home plate have been strategically placed to “bring the outside in,” offering what the designs claim will be stunning views of Tampa, Channelside and Ybor City, as well as cross breeze in pleasant weather.

What they’re saying about the Rays’ new stadium plans [Tampa Bay Times]

Nikita Kucherov got paid by the Lightning just in time for the Tampa Bay Rays to ask him for a down payment on that new Ybor City baseball stadium.

How to pay for it? As soon as I mentioned the stadium, the baseball-watchers of Raw Charge had this discussion:

Loserpoints: The public funding of this kind of stuff has to stop. It’s absurd.

Matthew: I’m with Alan on this. public funding for billionaires sports teams never made sense to me. the public never gets that money back. You’re a billionaire. Figure out a way to finance it. I know it can be done

Achariya: HANG ON, public funding?

Matthew: You’ll endear yourself more to the fanbase when you’re not raking their wallets through the county taxing them.

Achariya: You’re telling me the Rays don’t have an owner like Vinik?????

Matthew: It isn’t just a baseball issue, it’s a professional sports issue.

Loserpoints: Vinik also got a little lucky in that Amalie was already in a good location and could be renovated

Matthew: Look at Calgary. The Flames literally tried to meddle in an official election to try and leverage public funding for the Saddledome’s new arena deal.

Loserpoints: I don’t know what the solution for the Rays is, but it definitely isn’t taxes to generate 600 mil or whatever they’re gonna ask for to build that

Matthew: Pay for it yourself. You’re a billionaire. You’re telling me you can’t figure out a way to get the money loaned and finagle a payment system? This is the United States, there is always a way.

GeoFitz: That costs are $900ish million... and we all know that the most Sternberg will put up is $100 million while the costs balloon to $1.2 billion during construction that the tax payers get to foot.

So what’s your position?

New Rays stadium:

It’ll be a good investment in the area.63
It’ll come at too great a cost to tax payers.115
Other (will comment below).11

The Nikita Kucherovs

Aside from talking about a sport with spherical pucks, there was basically one story all day. I’ll post one interesting paragraph from each.

Nikita Kucherov Signs 8-Year, $76 Million Contract Extension With Tampa Bay Lightning [Forbes]

The deal makes Kucherov the highest-paid player on the Lightning and matches the 2018-19 cap hit of the ninth-highest paid players in the NHL, Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars. But with league incomes on the rise and cap hits for top players now regularly reaching eight figures, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman appears to have executed another team-friendly deal — securing a top talent for below market value.

No time like the present for Kucherov to sign extension with Lightning [NHL]

”My thought is we get the opportunity to open negotiations after July 1 of the last year of their contract,” Yzerman explained. “Let’s sit down with the player and their agent to see if we can get something done early. From a player’s perspective, I think it eases their mind and they can plan their future a little bit. And from the team’s perspective, it helps us going forward knowing the cap number of the player, knowing the commitment we have to make other decisions accordingly.”

Tampa Bay Lightning re-sign Nikita Kucherov to an eight-year contract extension [Raw Charge]

Even still, the Lightning are getting a nice discount on Kucherov. Since the 2012-13 lockout, only four other players have hit the 100 point mark. Connor McDavid with two of the six total seasons signed an extension for $12.5 million. Patrick Kane was already making $10.5 million in 2015-16 when he accomplished that feat. Sidney Crosby’s $8.7 million cap hit seems like a bargain, but was also a contract signed before the new restrictions of long-term contracts were put in place by the 2012-13 CBA. Claude Giroux is on an $8.275 million cap hit, but he also signed that contract four years before hitting 100 points.

Raw Table: KUUUUUUUUUUUCH [Raw Charge]

Whatever happens with Karlsson, this will be the most important move of the summer for the Lightning. Kucherov is among the handful of best players in the NHL. He is on pace to be one of the best players in franchise history. And now we know there’s a good chance he’ll be here for another eight years. This is a moment to celebrate.

Nikita Kucherov gives Tampa Bay Lightning a star player and cost certainty [ESPN]

One assumes J.T. Miller’s new $5.25 million AAV contract is portable, given that he has no trade protection. One also assumes Ryan Callahan’s modified no-trade clause would be used to find a home for his $5.8 million cap hit, in a deal sweetened by a draft pick or prospect.

Tampa Bay Lightning sign Nikita Kucherov to massive eight-year extension [Puck Prose]

As of July 10, he is projected to be tied for the 10th highest paid player in the NHL starting in 2019 as far as cap hit. Kucherov will also be the third highest paid wing, trailing only Patrick Kane and Alex Ovechkin. He will be the fourth-highest paid forward as far as salary and will have the seventh-highest cap hit among forwards.

Nikita Kucherov’s $76 million extension with Lightning is a bargain [NHL on NBC]

Here’s where the fun starts: Currently, the Lightning have a little over $65 million tied up in 12 players for the ’19-20 season, per Cap Friendly. Some major salary will have to go out if they’re to land Karlsson and sign him to a max extension. But given his history, it’d be hard to doubt Yzerman’s ability to make it work. The championship window remains open for the Lightning and won’t be closing any time soon.

Signing Nikita Kucherov all part of Yzerplan which can still include Erik Karlsson [Raw Charge]

The Lightning have certainly shown their adeptness at managing and navigating the salary cap and Brisebois is a big part of that. It’s hard to think that the Lightning would have even considered wading into the Karlsson conversation without a plan that included keeping Kucherov long term. I wouldn’t be surprised if Brisebois has worked up dozens of scenarios with different contract amounts, different potential salary caps, different trade possibilities, or the emergence of certain prospects to give the team an idea of what they need to do to go down any of these routes. And adding Karlsson is likely one of them.

Here’s how Lightning can still sign Erik Karlsson even after Kucherov extension [Fansided]

To free up more space, the Lightning will likely look to move alternate captain Ryan Callahan, which would open up $5.8 million. In 2019, Daniel Girardi, Anton Stralman and Braydon Coburn become unrestricted free agents, which takes another $11 million off the books.

The Prospects

Tampa Bay Lightning Top 25 Under 25, #24 Daniel Walcott [Raw Charge]

Walcott will most certainly be a big part of the Crunch’s dressing room again this up coming season. With Condra moving on, the captaincy is open and there’s a chance, despite his age, that he might be selected to wear the “C” for the season. Walcott served as Captain of his QMJHL team, the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, in his second season with that team. His leadership is clearly valued by Crunch head coach Ben Groulx and his staff. He will most certainly be wearing an A at the very least, and surely will continue to be a positive force in the community.

Erik Karlsson watch: All quiet on the trade front [Silver Seven Sens]

That being said, it’s been relatively quiet since July 5th. Nobody of repute is saying that a trade is on the near horizon. No new offers or teams have shown up. It’s also very hard to gauge what’s actually happening, with conflicting reports coming out every day, tweets claiming a trade is “imminent” coming out every day, and nary a word from top insider Bob McKenzie. It leaves us to speculate in the dark repeatedly.

Have an excellent Wednesday, y’all.