Lightning is once again busting the salary cap!

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On Monday, the Tampa Bay Lightning announced that the team had re-sign restricted free agent forward Ross Colton to a two-year contract, retaining another piece of its championship roster.

Colton and the Lightning were scheduled for a salary arbitration hearing next Monday, but didn’t need to after the forward inked a deal that pays $1.125 million per season.

While it is good news for Tampa to keep a player like Colton, who put up nine goals and three assists in 30 regular season games and added four goals in the playoffs, including the only one in Tampa Bay’s 1-0 clinching win over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, it comes at a price. 

That’s right, once again, the Bolts are over the salary cap. A flat cap of $81.5 million has been in place since the COVID-19 pandemic derailed the 2019-20 campaign, and the 2021-22 season will mark the third consecutive under that figure.

This is the second time the Lightning fails to respect the cap as, with Colton’s signing, Tampa Bay is now over the salary cap by $6,865,955, per Cap Friendly. 

However, once the Lightning utilize LTIR for Brent Seabrook ($6,875,000) the Lightning will be just barely under the cap by $9,045.

Last season, the Bolts managed to get under cap with Nikita Kucherov missing the entire regular season after hop surgery, but managed to return in time for the playoffs where the cap does not matter anymore. 

While we don’t expect Seabrook to surprisingly return to action for the postseason, we can understand how the signing of Colton does not make the Lightning nervous about its wallet at all.