Following yesterday’s trade of forward Ross Colton, the Tampa Bay Lightning have again turned their attention towards securing a contract extension for pending unrestricted free agent winger Alex Killorn, Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic said last night. Things will likely go down to the wire, but this will be one of the tougher negotiations in recent Lightning history. Killorn has reportedly turned down a longer-term extension offer at a low average annual value.
Moving Colton didn’t clear any cap space for Tampa. He was a pending restricted free agent, though, and the team didn’t have the salary cap flexibility to get an extension done. With the contract of retired defenseman Brent Seabrook on their books providing significant cap relief via long-term injured reserve, the team still has just $7.325MM in projected cap space, per CapFriendly – which will be barely enough to re-sign RFA Tanner Jeannot, re-sign or replace their three UFA wingers including Killorn, and re-sign or replace netminder Brian Elliott as Andrei Vasilevskiy’s backup.
With Killorn being one of the top five UFAs available on this year’s market, it’s highly doubtful Tampa can make him a reasonable offer to stay. It would require quite a creative solution from general manager Julien BriseBois, who’s no stranger to cap gymnastics at this stage in his managerial career.
Elsewhere in the Metropolitan Division today:
- Philadelphia Flyers general manager Daniel Briere was exuding confidence last night after his decision to draft Matvei Michkov with the seventh overall pick, revealing that he didn’t believe the Russian winger would fall and attempted to trade up. He wasn’t the only one – brand-new Nashville Predators GM Barry Trotz was also reportedly trying to leverage assets to move into the top five of last night’s first round. Briere emphasized that the Flyers’ focus on rebuilding allows them to patiently await Michkov’s potential NHL debut, which could come as late as the 2026-27 season after his three-year contract with KHL team SKA St. Petersburg expires.
- Staying with the Flyers, LeBrun also mentioned in his midnight column they’ve been receptive to trade offers for winger Travis Konecny, but Briere is inclined to retain him for the upcoming season unless an overwhelming offer emerges. Philadelphia has been the most active team on the trade market thus far in the offseason, already moving Kevin Hayes and Ivan Provorov while still aggressively shopping defenseman Travis Sanheim. The 26-year-old winger matched a career-high in 2022-23 with 61 points and provides high-end contract value at $5.5MM per season through 2025.
- Lastly, per LeBrun, recently acquired right winger Tyler Toffoli has expressed his desire to begin contract extension talks with the New Jersey Devils at the earliest opportunity. Toffoli, seeking stability after playing for four teams in the past four years, sees the Devils as a team poised for long-term success. However, LeBrun predicts Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald will encourage Toffoli to familiarize himself with the team and market before initiating extension discussions – similar to the team’s approaches with Erik Haula and Timo Meier as recent examples.