I would like to speak with the Tampa Bay Lightning’s accountant. The guy has to know something is terribly wrong. On Tuesday, the Bolts announced the signings of two players, inking defensemenJan Rutta for two years worth an AAV of $1.3 million and Erik Cernak to a three-year contract worth $2.95 million AAV!
As TSN senior hockey writer Frank Seravalli explains, these two moves now take the Lightning to $87.65 million payroll, well over $81.5 million cap, within $1.99 million of offseason limit.
There is no doubt something will have to be done for them to respect the flattened salary cap before the season gets underway on January 13th.
While a recent report has shown that star forward Nikita Kucherov received an injection last week for a hip injury and could miss some time, fans are starting to wonder if the Bolts would place him on the long term injury reserve (LTIR). There is no doubt it could help the financial situation in Tampa, but let’s not forget that Kucherov is coming off a postseason in which he led all players with 34 points, helping the Lightning to a six-game win over the Dallas Stars in the Stanley Cup final.
There is also talks on the posisbiltu of putting captain Steven Stamkos on that LTIR. The veteran forward has a lengthy injury history and there’s not a person in the world who look suspiciously on a Stamkos injury report.
The Lightning still has to get RFA Anthony Cirelli under contract and they have no more money to spend…
You can smell that a trade is coming, something that general manager Julien BriseBois has been trying to do since his team hoisted the Stanley Cup back in September. At the opening on free agency, the Lightning shocked fans by placing top forward Tyler Johnson on waivers in the hopes of getting rid of his hefty contract in order to respect the salary cap. No one took on his deal and BriseBois will probably have to pay far more than he would prefer to move Johnson, or any other player like Alex Killorn and Yanni Gourde for that matter.
Johnson has remained the top trade candidate this offseason, despite that trade chatter has been quiet on all fronts for a while. Many insiders are adamant that in order to move him , the Bolts will need to package Johnson with another asset to move him and his $5 million AAV off their books.
Because their books are bursting at the seams!