While the Boston Bruins are in a less-than-ideal salary cap spot where they couldn’t significantly add to their roster this offseason aside from Craig Smith, it could be a lot worse. It could be the salary cap hell awaiting the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Sure, they won the Stanley Cup in the Toronto bubble last fall and longtime Lightning players like Steve Stamkos, Victor Hedman and Andrei Vasilevskiy finally added a Stanley Cup to their impressive NHL resumes. The Bolts were in “have to win” territory based on the salary cap rocks waiting for them this offseason. Much like the Bruins had to pay the salary cap piper following their trips to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011 and 2013, the Lightning are immediately hitting that wall after winning it all.
The Lightning just signed defenseman Mikhail Sergachev to a very reasonable bridge deal in line with the contract Boston signed Charlie McAvoy to a little over a year ago, and that was a good deal for them. Certainly it allowed Tampa Bay to avoid any danger of an offer sheet from their Eastern Conference rivals. But it still puts the Lightning over the cap by roughly $2 million, per our friends at PuckPedia, with RFAs Anthony Cirelli and Erik Cernak still left to sign this offseason.
After signing RFA Sergachev for 3 yr $4.8M Cap Hit Deal, the #TBLightning are Projected $1.9M over the Cap with 19 players on Roster (12F/5D/2G)
RFA: Cernak, Cirellihttps://t.co/ZSSicftRcw
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) November 25, 2020
Naturally, this makes you wonder how much the Lightning will need to unload this offseason, and who it will end up being. Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, playoff hero Ondrej Palat and even their captain, Stamkos, have all been mentioned in the cap casualty-crosshairs. Whoever they deal, the Lightning will be getting pennies on the dollar based on their dire situation. It’s going to be fascinating to see how it plays and the Lightning need to be careful about who it ends up being, as the retirement of Johnny Boychuk serves as a reminder how dealing the hard-nosed D-man destroyed the Boston Bruins dressing room for a couple of years afterward.
Now on to the links:
*Speaking of the former Boston Bruins defenseman, here’s some pretty cool tribute links including a drink named after Johnny Rocket at the “Offside Tavern” and Boychuk showing off his clapper to the Karate Kid himself, Ralph Macchio.
— Ralph Macchio (@ralphmacchio) November 25, 2020
*Finally, NYI Hockey Now Islanders writer Christian Arnold writes about the impact Johnny Boychuk had on Long Island where his decision to sign a big contract with the Isles changed them into a bit of a destination spot for players. (NYI Hockey Now)
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dan Kingerski has some unique Pittsburgh Penguins jerseys that should be in the “must have” category for Pens fans as Christmas gifts on this Black Friday. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
*I’m kind of amazed my friends at NBC’s Pro Hockey Talk had the audacity to write something about what they’re thankful for in 2020. I mean, it’s Thanksgiving and all. But 2020 flat-out sucked. (NBC Sports)
*My partner-in-crime Jimmy Murphy caught up with Jake DeBrusk’s junior hockey coach in Red Deer, Brent Sutter, to talk about the B’s winger’s continued development as an all-around player after signing his new two-year contract. (Boston Hockey Now)
*For something completely different: Speaking of Christmas gifts, this real live lightsaber would be amazing under the Christmas tree.
YouTube channel Hacksmith Industries created a 4000°, plasma-based lightsaber that can stab Stormtroopers, cut through walls, and can definitely cut off a Skywalker hand or two in a pinch. pic.twitter.com/pJKnQ2GbaN
— IGN (@IGN) November 26, 2020