Can the Tampa Bay Lightning Keep Their Roster Together?

Things are looking good for the Lightning in 2022-2023, but 2023-2024 could see major changes.

What Lightning players aren’t under contract for next year?

Tampa Bay will keep almost their entire roster for the 2022-2023 season.

The most notable free agent is Ondrej Palat. He’s making $5.3 million per year, and there are probably teams that would pay him at least another million or two.

The NHL salary cap increase for 2022-2023 is only $1 million. The league still hasn’t recovered from the COVID revenue losses. So Palat re-signing will depend on whether he is willing to take a discount to stay with the team for at least one more year.

Other free agents include Jan Rutta, Nicholas Paul, and Riley Nash. These have been good role players for the Lightning, but one of Julien BriseBois’s biggest achievements in recent years has been finding veteran depth at cap-friendly salaries.

Update 1: New contract for Nick Paul

After a very strong postseason, the Lightning rewarded Paul with a higher than expected extension. The new contract is worth $3.15 million per year for 7 years up from $1.35 million per year.

Paul is currently 27 and will be 34 at the end of the deal. The extra term is to help reduce his annual salary and current cap hit. Depending on future cap increases, the Lightning may need to move Paul if he declines and they aren’t rebuilding.

Update 2: What happened to Ryan McDonagh?

In a salary cap move, the Lightning traded McDonagh ($6.75 million per year) to Nashville for defenseman Philippe Myers ($2.55 million per year) and AHL forward Grant Mismash ($842,500 per year).

McDonagh had a full no-trade clause, and rumors are GM Julien BriseBois told him to accept the trade or he would be placed on waivers.

The move frees up cap space to re-sign Palat and Rutta as well as next year’s free agents.

What Lightning players are signed for 2023-2024?

2023-2024 could be the end of an era for Tampa. Several key players have their contracts expiring, and the salary cap is expected to remain relatively flat for the next few seasons.

Anthony Cirelli, Mikhail Sergachev, Erik Cernak, Ross Colton, and Cal Foote will all be restricted free agents.

Alex Killorn, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Corey Perry, Brian Elliott, and Phillipe Myers will be unrestricted free agents.

Cirelli ($4.8 million per year), Killorn ($4.45 million per year), Sergachev ($4.8 million per year), and Cernak ($2.95 million per year) will all likely be able to command significant pay increases based on their current play. Killorn, who would be 34, is the biggest wildcard as a potential retirement or age-related decline could come into play.

What Lightning players are signed for 2024-2025?

The Lightning currently only have five players signed for the 2024-2025 Season.

  • Braden Point (Final year)
  • Victor Hedman (Final year)
  • Nikita Kucherov (2 years remaining)
  • Andrei Vasilevskiy (4 years remaining)
  • Nicholas Paul (5 years remaining)

What draft picks do the Lightning have?

One of the keys to Tampa’s success has been their ability to build through the draft. The team’s next few drafts may not be as strong as the team has traded away several key picks.

Round202220232024
1KeptTraded to ChicagoTraded to Chicago
2Traded to OttawaTraded to ChicagoKept
3Traded to DetroitKeptKept
4Traded to Montreal
Added Chicago’s pick
KeptTraded to Ottawa
Added Chicago’s Pick
5KeptKeptKept
6Kept
Added Detroit’s pick
KeptKept
7Kept
Added New York Ranger’s pick
Kept
Added Anaheim’s pick
Kept

How long is Jon Cooper under contract?

The Lightning gave head coach Jon Cooper a three-year extension at the start of the 2021-2022 season. He’s under contract through 2024-2025.

Salary terms were not disclosed. His previous contract covering 2019-2020 through 2021-2022 was for $3.5 to $4 million per year.

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