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Short "Off Season" For the Champs...What Now?

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They've reached the pinnacle. They can now celebrate, party hard and savor every moment of being the best at what they do.

But unlike other seasons, this celebration won't go on for a couple months.....there is business at hand for the players, the front office, and everyone involved with the team if they hope to successfully defend their title and do what just a few elite franchises have done before them: Win back to back titles.

And with the salary cap still in place (and not going up anytime soon), it means some players, instrumental in winning this Stanley Cup, will get rings.....but not a spot on the team when they start play in what the NHL is saying January 1st.

The cap making limitations is both good and bad.
Bad of course, because you lose players and are forced to make moves that you wouldn't want to normally because you need to be cap compliant......some key pieces will be gone, and some player who has yet to fully mature will go elsewhere and blossom over there.

Kevin Shattenkirk signed with the Ducks. He made just 1.75M last season, but it was clear from the start that his goal (and the team's) was for him to rebuild his value, help the team win, then get paid well once again. Mission accomplished on all fronts...except, the Bolts weren't the ones who could pay him what he was wanting.

Zack Bogosian signed with the Leafs.
Word was, Bogosian was offered a contract by the Lightning (I read Bogosian said that himself), but he took LESS to go to Toronto. Hmmm....I don't wanna question Bogo's word, because he DID just help my team win a title, but I honestly felt that if the Bolts were going to keep him, it would be for a low cost, low risk deal....like they did with Luke Schenn, as I think Schenn and Bogo are very similar players.
But, he says he took less to go to Toronto, and I will just take him at his word, wish him well, and move on.


Carter Verhaeghe signs with Florida.... just the odd man out in the RFA/UFA situation. Much like Jonathan Marchessault some time before that.
Things worked out well for Marchy as he did his time with the Panthers, then eventually found himself in big roles in Vegas.
Same for Verhaeghe? Sign with Florida, maybe gets taken in the Seattle draft and blossom over there? Could be...

Tyler Johnson was put on waivers for the purpose of a buyout.
I am saddened by this, but I understand what is going on here. Johnson seems lost in the shuffle in the TB forwards structure, further complicated by his inability to adapt and remain productive on the ice, further complicated STILL, by the big $5M cap hit he carries on a team that has precious little cap room to work with.

I don't know where Johnson ends up, but I sincerely wish him well and thank him for his role over the years in helping to make the Lightning relevant in the NHL again.


But in some ways, the cap is good because it means that, with departures, almost-NHL ready players in the minors will work their arses off to make the team......and will be REAL hungry to win a title so complacency should not settle into a team that has already won.

Alexander Volkov, Callan Foote, Taylor Raddysh, Boris Katchouk, Otto Somppi.....just a few players the Lightning are really wanting to see take major strides and possibly debut with the club next season at some point, if not right out of the gate.

As for other players who may not be around.... Alex Killorn's name keeps popping up as a potential candidate to be traded in order to free up more cap room....he carries a $4.5M hit.
Another guy I would like for the team to somehow, some way keep on as he IS part of the leadership core on the Lightning and one of the more versatile forwards they have. 
Slot him in ANYWHERE in the top nine, center or winger, and he gets the job done...not spectacular by any means, but steady, and has an underrated ability to play agitator as well.

But the Bolts have some good sized up n coming fish they need to try and re-hook

D-Mikhail Sergachev,  D-Erik Cernak, and C-Anthony Cirelli all will require significant bumps to their salaries.
All young players, all played for under 1M last season....... their time has come to bank.

Other than losing the aforementioned players to other teams so far, Bolts have been pretty quiet on the off season front so far.
I will try and keep up with their activity here....anyone else with Bolts player or team news is more than encouraged to post about it here as well.

Edited by TropicalFruitGirl26

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