The Lightning will soon have to make a decision in net, with goalie Ben Bishop entering the final year of his deal and only one goalie allowed to be protected in next year's expansion draft.
And Tampa Bay has now made a strong commitment to Andrei Vasilevkiy, 21, signing him to a three-year extension Friday worth $3.5 million annually. Vasilevskiy has one year left on his deal at $925,000.
"He wanted to show Tampa that he's prepared to committ and let's see what happens," said Vasilevskiy's agent Rolly Hedges told the Times. "He just wanted to show what he can do, wanted to be part of the organization. He could have waited a year, but he wanted to show he's a team player."
Bishop has one year left on his deal at $5.95 million, and has been a subject of trade rumors.
DreadNaught wrote:I hope we don't trade Kuch, keep him for this upcoming season and make another run at the cup. If we lose him next offseason and get some high draft picks for him than so be it.
It sucks to watch talent leave the team, but it's honestly a great problem to have when you have to pick and choose which of your talented core you can and can't re-sign.
pewterpirates wrote:So unless Yzerman can trade Bishop, Coburn and/or Filppula, we can't afford to re-sign Kucherov, right?
At last check, TB has $8.53M left in cap space. Also looking to re-sign Nesterov and Namestnikov, and while those guys won't command a large chunk, it'll lower our available cap space to less than ~$6M. And Kuch will likely get more than that, even if he takes a similar "team friendly" deal that Stamkos & Hedman took.
So here's hoping we get news soon of a Filppula or Coburn trade ASAP. I just don't know who would be willing to take on Filppula's contract considering his recent drop in play unless we include a pick or prospect.
Yzerman is in a tough spot right now in terms of retaining Kucherov — who I consider to be on the same level as Stamkos & Hedman. But Yzerman has worked magic so far. Can't wait to see what he comes up with next.
Cresselia wrote:After this season, subtract Bishop from the salary talk. I think that this is his last rodeo in Tampa.
Rocker wrote:Vlady signs two year deal.
SixStringSamurai wrote:Rocker wrote:Vlady signs two year deal.
We have roughly a little over 6 mil in cap space, and we have Nesterov and Kucherov to sign...Bishop or someone else needs to free up cap space.
Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman's offseason couldn't have gone much better so far, especially with the re-signing of captain Steven Stamkos and locking up cornerstone defenseman Victor Hedman long-term.
But after avoiding arbitration with center Vladislav Namestnikov Tuesday - signing him to a two-year deal - Yzerman has one big item left on his to-do list.
Kucherov, 23, one of the league's top young stars, is a restricted free agent, and is due a hefty raise from the $700,000 he made last season. He's coming off a 30-goal season, and another clutch playoff performance. Think of the Predators' six-year, $36 million deal with Filip Forsberg as an example.
Yzerman said Wednesday he remains confident the Lightning can sign Kucherov, though would not put a timeline on when it'd happen. Yzerman suggested it could take until the start of the season. Agent Scott Greenspun declined to comment on negotiations.
"We continue to communicate with his representation," Yzerman said. "And we expect to have him under contract to start the season."
The Lightning has roughly between $5-$6 million remaining cap space for next season, and still needs to sign Kucherov and fellow restricted free agent defenseman Nikita Nesterov. Yzerman said they'll have to eventually make a move before the season to become cap compliant, but doesn't need to make one before signing Kucherov and Nesterov. Yzerman said they have the room.
The fact the Lightning is in a cap crunch would seem to make it possible another team could give Kucherov an offer sheet, potentially driving up the price. Tampa Bay, of course, could match. There's no offer sheet believed to be on the table currently.
"We've got to be under the cap at some point," Yzerman said. "Depending on the health of players, Ryan Callahan had surgery and if he's not ready to to start the season, that buys us some time. We can do that (long-term injured reserve) if we need to. At some point, we're going to have to be cap compliant to start the season, there's no way around it."
Yzerman indicated that just because Kucherov isn't signed yet doesn't mean there's any snags in negotiations. "Every negotiation is different and some take longer than others," Yzerman said. "Sometimes they get done when they get done. You can't force it."
With Namestnikov signing, at a $1.93 million cap hit the next two seasons, it could open up the opportunity to try to deal veteran center Valtteri Filppula, who is due $5 million each of the next two seasons. Namestnikov is coming off a career-year with 14 goals and 21 assists, while bouncing up and down the lineup, alternating between center and wing.
Yzerman said eventually Namestnikov needs to settle into a more defined role and in his best position, up the middle. Dealing a center, like Filppula, would in theory create an opening on the third-line. Veteran Brian Boyle is under contract for one more season.
"(Namestnikov) pretty much became a regular in the lineup," Yzerman said. "He's very versatile. Ultimately we see his best position is in the middle, at center, but he can play in all positions and he has the ability to play on both special teams as well. We're pleased with the step he took last year, we expect him to continue with that. Eventually he will settle into a specific position with a more defined role on our team. I'm not going to give you a timeline or (say) it's going to happen today or a week from now, a month from now. It will all work itself out."
And so, apparently, will be the Kucherov contract.
pewterpirates wrote:Ben Bishop is one of my favorite players ever. But we really needed that trade to Calgary to happen. It would've solved this issue. But now that's off the table, I'm assuming we're just going to keep Bishop. I don't see anybody wanting to trade for Filppula or Callahan. So it seems we're screwed.
Not only do we have Kuch to worry about signing this year, but TJ, Palat and Drouin next year. Some moves are going to HAVE to happen to keep 2 of those 4 guys. It'll be interesting to see what Yzerman does.
I'd be surprised if we only manage to keep one of those 4 guys. If we had to pick between Kuch and Drouin, I'd pick Kuch 100 times out of 100.
SixStringSamurai wrote:Signed Nesterov to 1 year deal...now we have a little over 5 to get a deal done with kucherov...this needs to happen soon.
pewterpirates wrote:My question is, why hasn't another team swooped in and signed Kuch to an offer sheet? If someone did that, it would really make things difficult. Someone could offer Kuch $6.5M or $7M per year, and we'd probably lose him.
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