Quick Strikes: Steve Yzerman’s trade deadline moves save Tampa Bay Lightning $1.2 million next year

Yzerman saves some salary cap space for next year, Mishkin looks at the Tampa Bay Lightning season in three phases, and more prospect highlights from juniors.

The Bolts

For those of you unfamiliar with the intricacies of the salary cap, I’ll do my best to give  a brief overview of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s situation. The NHL has a hard salary cap of 73 million dollars this year. Any performance bonuses for young players who are still on their entry-level contracts (like Jonathan Drouin, Brayden Point, etc.) get applied to the salary cap at the end of the year. If those payments push the team over 73 million, that excess money (“overage”) gets applied against next year’s salary cap, leaving the Lightning with less money to re-sign players this summer (Jonathan Drouin, Ondrej Palat, and Tyler Johnson).

By trading away three players (Ben Bishop, Brian Boyle, and Valtteri Filppula), Steve Yzerman was able to keep the team’s final payments under 73 million dollars this year, maximizing the salary cap space for next season. Long story short, Yzerman traded veterans so he would have enough money to sign players this summer. Trust the Yzerplan.

It may not be on the ice, but there’s still some hockey being played at Amalie Arena.

Lightning broadcaster Dave Mishkin breaks the season down into three phases. “It's also true that over the course of an 82-game regular season, there are key segments and even individual games that can swing a team's fortunes in different directions. I felt the Lightning's season had three distinct, separate parts. Today, I'm going to take an in-depth look those three chapters - and how, to varying degrees, they intersected with some of those aforementioned problem areas.” [Tampa Bay Lightning]

Victor Hedman spoke to a Swedish news outlet about his disappointment with the year. “With a second left in the season Victor Hedman made a hard slapshot from his zone into the empty goal. The goal was his 16th of the season and meant that together with his 56 assists, he ended up with 72 points, one better than Erik Karlsson, Ottawa's captain.” [DN.se, google translated]

Owner Jeff Vinik had strong words in his thank you letter to fans about how he felt the team did this season. He was not satisfied with mediocre results.

The Prospects

Mitchell Stephens (#67 in green) picked up an assist as the London Knights rallied from a two-goal deficit to defeat Anthony Cirelli (#22 in white), Erik Cernak (#14), Taylor Raddysh (#17) and the Erie Otters. Cirelli scored a goal for Erie. The series is tied at 2-2.

Christopher Paquette (#12 in white) scored a goal to help his Peterborough Petes defeat the Kingston Frontenacs 6-2. Matt Spencer (#27) was held off the score sheet. The Petes swept series 4-0 to advance to the third round.

The Game

I’m all for supporting your team, but this is taking it a little too far. “Some might call it a daring display of hardcore fandom. Others might call it a careless and dangerous lack of priorities. No matter which way you slice it, the story of the Penguins fan who would rather bleed from his head than miss Game 1 will likely alter your understanding of the term ‘diehard fan.’” [Puck Daddy]

Kevin Hayes wants to see Madison Square Garden come alive for the New York Rangers. “So, before we get going on this journey, I want to let Rangers fans know something: I’ll fight for every puck and every goal this playoffs. All of us will. And as for you guys, I know you’ll bring the electricity. We’ll need your help to make the Garden jump.”  [The Players’ Tribune]

Tom Wilson scored the game-winning goal in overtime for the Washington Capitals who took a 1-0 series lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ironically, Leafs head coach Mike Babcock said the following about Wilson before yesterday’s game:

IIHF World Championships

Victor Hedman has decided to join Team Sweden.

Team USA, coached by Jeff Blashill, announced their roster yesterday: