Quick Strikes: Tampa Bay Lightning have 23 million in salary cap space

Vegas takes Jason Garrison, Victor Hedman doesn’t win the Norris Trophy, and the Bolts play the Florida Panthers in the home opener.

The Bolts

“The Vegas Golden Knights have selected defenseman Jason Garrison from the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Expansion Draft. In addition, the Lightning sent them the rights to Nikita Gusev along with a 2017 second-round pick and a 2018 fourth-round pick in exchange for the Golden Knights to take Garrison.” [Raw Charge]

Garrison provided one of my fondest playoff memories in recent history. I hope Vegas treats him well.

The decision to move Gusev’s rights to Vegas wasn’t a total surprise. Natalia translated a Russian article yesterday that suggested as much. “According to our information, it is likely that Tampa trades Nikita Gusev’s rights to Vegas, because the new team’s general manager George McPhee is dreaming of reuniting the SKA line in his club. He was amazed by their play at the IIHF World Championship.” [Raw Charge]

With all this expansion draft discussion, it seems like a good time to look back on the Bolts expansion draft on June 18, 1992. “With the benefit of hindsight, we'll take a look back at that historic day in Montreal and rate each Lightning pick for the impact they had on the burgeoning franchise.” [Tampa Bay Lightning]

According the CapFriendly, moving Garrison freed up some extra money, pushing the Lightning’s available salary cap space to $23,113,333. The Lightning still have to re-sign key restricted free agents (RFAs) like Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat, but they should have some money left over once that’s done. It sounds like General Manager Steve Yzerman is going to use that extra money to make some moves. Might we suggest shoring up the blue line?

Victor Hedman fell short in the voting for the Norris Trophy. “Hedman should be considered a strong contender for the Norris Trophy again next season. At 26 years old, he is in the midst of his prime years. With a fully healthy Lightning squad, there is no reason to think he can’t repeat his offensive performance as the unquestioned leader of the Lightning blue line.” [Raw Charge]

He may not have won the Norris, but he’s certainly in the running for best-dressed. Nice suit, Heddy!

Hedman was named a second team All-Star, along with teammate Nikita Kucherov. It is the first time that either player was awarded this honor (Slightly biased opinion: both players should probably be first team All-Stars).

With the NHL entry draft just around the corner, GeoFitz4 and BoltsGuy04 offer their predictions on who the Lightning will select. (Side note: These articles were written before the Lightning traded away this year’s 2nd round pick to Vegas)

The Lightning will play the Florida Panthers in this season’s home opener!

“The Lightning have had pretty good success in home openers throughout their 24 seasons of play, going 14-7-1 with two ties. The Bolts currently own a five-game win streak in home openers, the longest consecutive home opener victory streak in franchise history. Let's take a look back at some of the more memorable Lightning home openers through the years.” [Tampa Bay Lightning]

2016-17 Season Breakdown: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Ottawa Senators. “Tampa Bay won three of four games against the Senators this year. That means they’re the better team... right?” [Raw Charge]

The Prospects

The Syracuse Crunch sent a heartfelt message to the fans who supported them throughout the season.

The Crunch play in the North Division of the American Hockey League. Here’s a quick look at the roster status in Syracuse as well as its opponents. [Highland Park Hockey]

The Game

Bryan Bickell was honored at the NHL Awards tonight. (Grab some tissues, it gets dusty.)

Scary news. A few years ago, we watched Marian Hossa lift the cup while our team tried its best to console itself in the locker room. This summer, it seems that Hossa is forced to take LTIR due to health considerations. “Marian Hossa out for 2017-18 season; skin disorder could end career.” [Chicago Sun-Times]

Home openers were announced for all 31 teams in the league. “The NHL season will also be starting a week earlier after the World Cup delayed the start of the 2016-17 season to the middle of October.” [NJ.com]

Tonight at the NHL Awards, one fun thing was announced. Connor McDavid is on the cover of NHL 18. “As good of a year as he had, the best in yet to come for him. EA Sports is showing a commitment to the young stars of the league with this selection, and their overall packaging this year.”  [Forbes.com]

Marc Dumont of Habs Eyes on the Prize gave his best guess about the cover:

Okay no it’s actually this: