With cap problems fast approaching and plenty of extensions kicking in (as well as the contract of RFA Brayden Point to worry about), the Tampa Bay Lightning will have lots to worry about. Even with the expiring contracts of Braydon Coburn ($3.7MM), Dan Girardi ($3MM), Jan Rutta ($2.2MM) and Anton Stralman ($4.5MM), most of that money will go towards the new extensions for Nikita Kucherov, Yanni Gourde and Ryan McDonagh, which will likely force the team to find other ways to save money.
One contract that the Lightning will likely try to get rid of will be that of forward Ryan Callahan, who still has one year remaining on his contract at $5.8MM. The 34-year-old forward only appeared in 52 games this year and while injuries have been part of the problem, Callahan has also found himself a healthy scratch often this year, especially after the all-star break, as his skills seem to be on a decline. Diana Nearhos of the Tampa Bay Times suggests that the team might attempt to trade him off, despite having a modified no-trade clause. The team would almost have to retain some of his salary to make a deal work, but there is also a legitimate chance they will buy the veteran out.
- In an interview with Detroit Red Wings new general manager Steve Yzerman, The Athletic’s Craig Custance (subscription required) asked multiple questions about the team’s sixth-overall pick in the upcoming 2019 NHL draft. When asked about Russian winger Vasili Podkolzin, whose draft stock seems to be dropping due to signability issues, Yzerman made it clear that he wasn’t worried about that and wouldn’t be scared to draft him. “It hasn’t in the past,” said Yzerman. “The really good Russian players all come over. Maybe they wait a year, two years, but eventually you get them. (Evgeny) Kuznetsov, (Vladimir) Tarasenko, (Andrei) Vasilevskiy. (Nikita) Kucherov waited a year. The really good ones are coming over. You have to be prepared, potentially, to wait. I don’t really know what his contract status is.”
- The Athletic’s George Richards (subscription required) writes that this offseason will be a big one for Florida Panthers forward Henrik Borgstrom. The 21-year-old struggled this season in his transition to the NHL, scoring eight goals and 18 points in 50 games. One of new head coach Joel Quenneville’s new responsibility is to get the most out of Borgstrom, who will likely be expected to shift to the center position and be the odds-on favorite to take over the third-line position. “I definitely want it,” Borgstrom said. “That’s the spot I want to take, and it is up to me to take it. I feel like I have to be ready for it, work hard for it. Hopefully, when the time training camp comes, I will be totally ready to take it.”