Friday, 1 July 2016

BREAKING: Andrei Vasilevskiy Signs Three-Year, $10.5-million Contract Extension

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced this afternoon that they have signed goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy to a three-year contract worth $10.5-million total, or $3.5-million per season.

Keeping his streak of signing players to cap-friendly deals alive, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman managed to ink Vasilevskiy in such a way that will give the Bolts an above-average starting goaltender at a very affordable rate.  The signing of Vasilevskiy undoubtedly signals a changing of the guard for Tampa Bay, as it is almost a certainty now that Ben Bishop will be shown the door in one way or another.  If there's one thing his run in the playoffs proved, it's that Vasilevskiy is prepared to be 'the guy' for the Lightning.  He's going to get that shot.

BREAKING: Lightning Sign Victor Hedman to Eight-Year Contract Extension

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced this morning that they have re-signed defenseman Victor Hedman to an eight-year contract extension with an average annual value of $7.875-million.  This news comes on the heels of the team signing Captain Steven Stamkos to a similar eight-year extension just two days ago.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Lightning Waive Matt Carle with Buyout in Mind

The Tampa Bay Lightning put defenseman Matt Carle on waivers today, with the intention of buying him out tomorrow.  This, combined with yesterday's news surrounding Steven Stamkos, basically sent Bolts Nation to the moon.

Why, you ask?

Because, since signing with Tampa in the summer of 2012, Carle has been a 'lightning' rod (no pun intended) for criticism.  His play has underwhelmed in a significant (read: enormously monstrous) way, especially when you compare it to the $5.5M cap hit he carries/carried:
As the tweet says, you can't have a guy on your roster carrying a $5.5M cap hit who does... that.  It wasn't good enough.  No matter how you slice it, there are better ways for the Lightning to be spending that money.  It's hard to argue against Steve Yzerman's choice to end Carle's second tenure with Tampa Bay.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Stamkos Signs for Eight Years

Well that was quite a day, wasn't it?  With Taylor Hall (!!!) being traded to New Jersey for Adam Larsson and P.K. Subban (!!!) being traded to Nashville for Shea Weber, it's amazing that there was any room left on the airwaves to announce that the Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed Captain Steven Stamkos to an eight-year contract worth an average of $8.5-million per season:
With the hockey world (yours truly included) practically certain that Stamkos was set to walk when the clock struck July 1st, the captain surprised everyone by signing a very, very, very affordable deal with Tampa Bay.  Remember all that talk about him getting $10-million, $11-million, or even $12-million per year on the open market?  Somehow the Bolts locked him up for an amount that can only be described as a discount.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Edmonton's Nail Yakupov is the Right Fit at the Right Price for Tampa Bay

One of the bigger storylines to come out of this year's draft weekend was all the fuss surrounding the Edmonton Oilers.  It seemed that any time a rumor was brought up, the Oilers found themselves right in the middle of it.  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins?  On his way out.  Taylor Hall?  We'll miss you.  Jordan Eberle?  You can kiss him goodbye.  Leon Draisaitl?  He'll look great in a Montreal jersey.  Aside from Connor McDavid, almost every Oiler of note had his name thrown around the rumor mill in one form or another.

Of course, with all those big names spamming the headlines, some of the smaller-ticket items found themselves slightly off the radar; that included Nail Yakupov, who reportedly was available for... basically nothing:

While the draft is now over and those picks have been made, the Nail Yakupov sweepstakes are likely ongoing.  With the addition of Jesse Puljujarvi at the draft, the Oilers once again find themselves with a bevy of forward talent and a dearth of wealth on the blue line heading into the offseason.  Something has got to give, right?  It seems that Yakupov, in desperate need of a fresh start, could be one of the players who is shipped out of Alberta's capital region.  If he is indeed available, the Tampa Bay Lightning should absolutely be giving Peter Chiarelli a call.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Lightning Need to Make Game Four Power Play Adjustments Permanent

One of the big mysteries in today's NHL is how a team with as much talent as the Tampa Bay Lightning can have such a useless (for lack of a better word) power play.  While there's been some talk of the team's power play being fixed as a result of some "success" against the Detroit Red Wings, the reality is that this team still has a lot of work to do with its man-advantage unit.

Consider the following: Among the 16 teams that made the playoffs this season, and through the first handful of games in the postseason, Tampa ranks third last in CF/60 on the power play.  They simply aren't throwing the puck towards the net with regularity.  And, if you look at teams that have consistently strong power plays, you'll see that they typically send the puck in the opposing goaltender's direction with some measure of regularity.  Tampa didn't do that in the regular season.  Tampa hasn't done that for the most part so far in the postseason.  A visual representation:

Obviously the small sample size makes the disparity far greater than it likely would be over time, but the fact remains that Tampa Bay has failed to generate shot attempts at the same rate as some of the teams they are competing against for hockey's biggest prize.  It's just not a recipe for success if you're looking to score with the man advantage.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Quick Thoughts on Drouin's Start to the 2016 Playoffs

One of the big questions for the Tampa Bay Lightning heading into the playoffs this year was who would fill the void left by Steven Stamkos, who continues to sit on the sidelines after undergoing surgery to remove a blood clot in his arm.  Down the stretch in the regular season, offence was at a premium, so it was only natural to wonder who would replace one of the game's biggest scoring threats.  Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson have done a lot of the heavy lifting through two games, but another guy who deserves oodles of credit is Jonathan Drouin.

Yes, that Jonathan Drouin.  The same Jonathan Drouin who wanted out by the trade deadline.  The same Jonathan Drouin who sat at home for a huge chunk of the season.  He's been fantastic, and he's quickly establishing himself as a very important piece for the Lightning.  Maybe trading him isn't such a good idea, after all.