Columbus Blue Jackets
Los Angeles Kings
Tampa Bay Lightning
Columbus Blue Jackets
Los Angeles Kings
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning weren’t going to pass up the opportunity to bring back one of their own. The team has claimed Alex Barre-Boulet off waivers from the Seattle Kraken. If they were the only team to submit a claim, they can assign the young forward directly to the AHL as if he cleared.
It certainly made sense for the Lightning to reclaim the 24-year-old Barre-Boulet, given what has happened since he was claimed by the Kraken earlier this month. While he was skating in two games for Seattle, the Lightning lost Nikita Kucherov from the lineup with an injury. By placing Kucherov on long-term injured reserve, Tampa Bay now has cap space and a roster spot to keep Barre-Boulet up if they choose.
It’s basically the best scenario possible for the Lightning. Not only did they reclaim a valuable asset, but Barre-Boulet was able to keep in game shape by suiting up twice for the Kraken. He even recorded a point, despite averaging fewer than nine minutes of ice time. That’s nothing new for the undrafted forward, who has been essentially a point-per-game producer at the minor league level for several seasons. In terms of depth forwards to plug into the lineup, the Lightning certainly could do worse.
The Seattle Kraken have placed Alex Barre-Boulet on waivers today, as Calle Jarnkrok returns from the COVID protocol. Barre-Boulet was claimed off waivers earlier this season from the Tampa Bay Lightning.
After two games for the Kraken, Barre-Boulet finds himself once again available to the entire league. Should the Lightning place the only claim on him, he can be assigned directly to their minor league affiliate. If he is unclaimed, the Kraken can stash the young forward with the Charlotte Checkers, where he would be a welcome addition. In 148 career AHL games, Barre-Boulet has registered 139 points, showing just how dangerous he can be offensively in the right situation. The undrafted forward even registered an assist for the Kraken despite playing fewer than ten minutes in each of the two contests.
His placement on waivers is because Jarnkrok has been activated from the COVID protocol after spending the last two weeks unavailable to the Kraken. Seattle’s selection from the Nashville Predators looked in the preseason like he would play a key role for the Kraken, and indeed was practicing on the first line today according to Marisa Ingemi of the Seattle Times. His return, along with the recent appearance of Yanni Gourde, should give the team some additional firepower as they look to make a splash on home ice. After a five-game road trip to open the year, their finally heading home for a match against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.
The NHL season is now underway and yet the well-documented roster crunches of the New York Islanders and Seattle Kraken have gone completely unnoticed even as the league’s 23-man roster deadline came and went. What happened? Well, it may seem counterintuitive, but both teams have been helped out by injuries and health-related absences. However, they aren’t out of the woods yet and may only be delaying the inevitable.
In New York, the Isles knew that they would receive salary cap and roster flexibility by placing defenseman Johnny Boychuk on Long-Term Injured Reserve, but veteran forward Matt Martin also landed on IR. While just one unexpected injury may not seem like a lot, it has had a massive impact on how the Islanders prepare for the start of the season. While the club was successfully able to pass pricier veterans Richard Panik and Thomas Hickey through waivers and on to AHL Bridgeport, they have not yet had to make the tough decision between any of their other more attractive fringe players. Once Martin returns, someone else has to go. Martin’s fourth line replacement Ross Johnston appears to be safe as the apparent next man up, but is at least in the mix. Serviceable veteran Leo Komarov is not expected to be in the Isles’ Opening Night lineup on Thursday, but has been a valuable depth player for years in New York and is even more attractive to other teams now that he is on an expiring contract. Young Kieffer Bellows, whose new contract was finally registered with the league, would also be very interesting to other teams and represents the Islanders’ best top-six substitute. There is no easy choice as all three are more likely than not to be claimed, which explains why GM Lou Lamoriello has reportedly been exploring the trade market.
Things are a little more dire in Seattle, where the league’s newest team would like to keep their Opening Night roster intact but stand little chance of doing so. Already the team has had to make some risky waiver placements, including Kole Lind and Cale Fleury, but have been lucky thus far. Dennis Cholowski’s time on the wire could yield a different result, but even that loss would pale in comparison to what is coming down the line if the Kraken don’t make a move first. The lone holdover from the team’s recent mini-breakout of positive COVID-19 tests, veteran forward Calle Jarnkrok will be available sooner rather than later. Marcus Johansson, placed on injured reserve today, will likely be the next one back and Colin Blackwell is only expected to miss the first month of the season. Further down the road, the team will also need room for Yanni Gourde, who is expected back closer to December. That’s four valuable veterans forwards who all need spots on the Seattle roster, which already sits at 23 members with only one – Lind – that can safely be sent to the minors. On one hand, these early injuries allow the Kraken to take a look at some players who otherwise would not have made the roster, like waiver claim Alex Barre-Boulet for example. On the other hand, these “extra” players will eventually need to be waived, traded, or force the team to trade others instead. Lind and Barre-Boulet seem like easy cuts, but that is just two of four. Would Ryan Donato, who scored the first goal in franchise history on Tuesday, clear waivers? Would young grinder Nathan Bastian? Veteran center Riley Sheahan? The Kraken have a number of questions left to answer and their early injuries have only kicked the can down the road. The longer they wait, especially if the team is playing well, the less likely their fringe players are to clear waivers and the less likely that potential trade partners may be to make a deal rather than wait them out. GM Ron Francis and company have their work cut out for them.
While the preseason trade market remained quiet and there were no earth-shattering waiver claims, this is at least partially due to some unexpected injuries in New York and Seattle. At some point these situations will need to be resolved and, one way or another, players will wind up changing hands.
Three players were claimed off waivers today, just before opening night rosters are submitted. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports that the Seattle Kraken claimed Alex Barre-Boulet from the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Montreal Canadiens claimed Adam Brooks from the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Philadelphia Flyers claimed Patrick Brown from the Vegas Golden Knights. The Washington Capitals also re-claimed Axel Jonsson-Fjallby from the Buffalo Sabres and assuming they were the only team to put in a claim, can now send him directly to the minor leagues. The other 39 players placed on waivers yesterday have cleared.
Barre-Boulet seemed the likeliest player to be claimed among yesterday’s group, as the 24-year-old has not only shown extremely well at the minor league level, but also is signed at league minimum for the next three seasons. The former Lightning prospect signed a three-year deal in July that pays him $750K at the NHL level this year and next, and $775K in 2023-24 when the minimum increases. That alone makes him valuable and he’ll now get a chance to show exactly what he can do in Seattle, rather than be blocked by countless talented teammates in Tampa Bay.
Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2018, Barre-Boulet was a superstar in the QMJHL but lacks the size of a traditional NHL player. That certainly hasn’t held him back in the AHL, as he has posted 136 points in 144 games for the Syracuse Crunch since turning pro. That includes eight goals in just ten games last season, which helped elevate him to the NHL level where he played in 15 games for the Lightning. Though he is by no means a lock to produce for the Kraken, it was an easy choice to add his talent to the organization when it came available.
Brooks too seemed like an inevitable loss for the Maple Leafs when they decided to place him on waivers instead of Michael Amadio yesterday. Toronto will lose their depth forward to the rival Canadiens and could see him on the other side of the ice quickly. Montreal will travel to Toronto on Wednesday for their season opener, though it’s not clear if Brooks will step directly into the lineup. The 25-year-old has always seemed to play well when given the chance–that just hasn’t been very often. He has played just 18 regular season games for the Maple Leafs thus far, registering eight points.
There seems to be something of a trend in Philadelphia, where Brown will be the latest Boston College alumni to join the roster. He played college hockey with both Kevin Hayes and Cam Atkinson, winning the national championship in 2012 with the former. He adds plenty of pro experience but not a lot at the NHL level, given he’s only suited up for 33 regular season games. Incredibly, that total has almost been matched by his postseason experience, where he has played in 22 games the last three seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes and Golden Knights.
Oct 11: Barre-Boulet, Brooks, Brown, and Jonsson-Fjallby were all claimed, but the other 39 players cleared and can be assigned to the minor leagues.
Oct 10: On the final day to waive players before opening-night rosters are due, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports these 43 players have been placed on waivers:
F Sam Carrick (ANA)
D Jacob Larsson (ANA)
F Axel Jonsson-Fjallby (BUF)
D Eric Gelinas (CAR)
D Maxime Lajoie (CAR)
F Josh Leivo (CAR)
F Stefan Noesen (CAR)
F C.J. Smith (CAR)
D Gabriel Carlsson (CBJ)
D Mikko Lehtonen (CBJ)
F Kevin Stenlund (CBJ)
G Collin Delia (CHI)
G Malcolm Subban (CHI)
D Jacob MacDonald (COL)
D Alexander Petrovic (DAL)
F Riley Barber (DET)
F Taro Hirose (DET)
D William Lagesson (EDM)
F Kyle Turris (EDM)
D Lucas Carlsson (FLA)
G Christopher Gibson (FLA)
D Austin Strand (LAK)
F Austin Wagner (LAK)
F Frederik Gauthier (NJD)
G Connor Ingram (NSH)
F Michael McCarron (NSH)
F Andrew Agozzino (OTT)
D Nick Seeler (PHI)
F Alex Barre-Boulet (TBL)
D Fredrik Claesson (TBL)
D Andrej Sustr (TBL)
F Adam Brooks (TOR)
F Justin Bailey (VAN)
D Madison Bowey (VAN)
F Phillip Di Giuseppe (VAN)
D Travis Hamonic (VAN)
F Sven Baertschi (VGK)
F Patrick Brown (VGK)
F Gage Quinney (VGK)
G Zachary Fucale (WSH)
F Garrett Pilon (WSH)
D Nelson Nogier (WPG)
F Dominic Toninato (WPG)
There are a variety of notable names on this list, starting with the curious case of Jonsson-Fjallby. After being picked up on waivers from Washington earlier in the week, he finds himself on waivers again today after not playing in a single preseason contest for Buffalo. If Washington re-claims him, he can be immediately assigned to AHL Hershey.
The most surprising and NHL-ready name on this list is undoubtedly Vancouver’s Hamonic. With a cap hit of $3MM, it’s extremely unlikely he gets claimed, but could still be an intriguing option for a rebuilding team that needs defensive depth.
Other than that, there’s a rather intriguing group of younger, promising forwards that could be worth looks for teams like Buffalo, Arizona, Ottawa, Detroit, and others. Brooks, Barre-Boulet, Wagner, and Stenlund all fit the bill as names that carry moderate upside.
Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic reports that the Tampa Bay Lightning have begun contract extension talks with head coach Jon Cooper. Cooper is entering the final season of a three-year deal paying him $3.5MM per season.
A raise is undoubtedly in order for Cooper, who’s now guided the Lightning to back-to-back Stanley Cup championships. It’s an incredible achievement for Cooper, who’s already the longest-tenured head coach in the NHL. He took over the reins with 15 games left in the 2012-13 season after Guy Boucher was fired.
The Lightning have never won less than 40 games in a full season coached by Cooper, who’s now 54 years old. His coaching record stands at 384-197-53, good enough for a .647 points percentage during his time as a head coach in the league. Those numbers tie him for 42nd all-time in wins and 11th among all current head coaches in the league.
Cooper’s job could get more challenging this year. Salary cap constraints hit the Lightning hard this offseason, and they’re now a team that will be relying on their youth more than in recent years. He’s shown at multiple junctures in the past that he can get the most out of Tampa’s prospect system, helping coach underappreciated assets like Brayden Point and Anthony Cirelli to the heights of their success.
He’ll have to perform a similar act this year with names such as Ross Colton, Callan Foote, Mathieu Joseph, and other potential roster players such as Alex Barre-Boulet and Taylor Raddysh. If Cooper’s able to guide Tampa Bay to yet another Stanley Cup championship, he could become the first coach to win three straight Stanley Cups since Al Arbour won four in a row from 1980 to 1983.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed Alex Barre-Boulet to a three-year contract. The first year is a two-way deal that will carry a salary of $750K at the NHL level, the second year is one-way and comes with a salary of $750K and the third year is one-way with a salary of $775K. The contract’s average annual value at the NHL level will be $758,333. Barre-Boulet was a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract.
The 24-year-old forward is another one of Tampa’s undrafted development projects and appears ready to take on a full-time role in the NHL. After dominating the AHL with 124 points in his first two seasons, he made his debut with Tampa Bay this season, playing in 15 games. Though he had just three goals during that span, he was an excellent possession player and should be a fixture in the lineup this season.
Signing for three years at the league minimum is obviously a big win for the Lightning, even if he’s just a part-time player moving forward. Barre-Boulet obviously was willing to give up a bit of potential salary for the security of a multi-year contract and by doing so actually made it easier for the team to keep him in the NHL. Tampa Bay, who have lost several players this summer because of the salary cap, will need players on cheap contracts as they continue pay their more productive forwards at the top of the lineup. Just this week, Brayden Point signed a massive eight-year extension that will make him one of the highest-paid forwards in the league. That deal won’t kick in until next season, but Barre-Boulet is now locked in at a very reasonable price for that stage too.
We are now less than a week away from the NHL Trade Deadline and talks are heating up. Where does each team stand and what moves should they be looking to make? We continue our look around the league with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning needed to look for a new challenge this season after stomping the competition in the 2020 postseason. They decided that if the league’s teams weren’t good enough to beat them, they would just take on the league itself. This season, the Lightning have stretched the NHL’s hard salary cap to it’s limit. Some might even throw the word “circumvention” out there. Tampa has managed to hold on to it’s extremely talented and fairly compensated roster due almost entirely due to the timely injury of Nikita Kucherov and the acquisitions of other injured players Marian Gaborik and Anders Nilsson. The Bolts have over $17MM in salary on Long-Term Injured Reserve – and they’ve used up all but $370,500 of it. There is zero space for the Lightning to do anything at the trade deadline beyond a minor depth addition, but they will get a major boost in the postseason with the return of Kucherov. Barring another opportunistic injury or a hockey trade that no one sees coming, the Bolts may have to settle for that this season.
26-11-2, .692, 3rd in Central Division
$0MM in full-season space ($371K in LTIR space), 0/3 retention slots used, 45/50 contracts used per CapFriendly
2021: TBL 1st, TBL 3rd, TBL 4th, TBL 5th, TBL 6th, NJD 7th, NSH 7th, TBL 7th
2022: TBL 1st, TBL 3rd, TBL 4th, TBL 5th, TBL 6th, TBL 7th
There is a difference between what the Lightning could offer and what they will offer, given that they are in no position to make much of a trade. It is unlikely that the team is going to move any of their roster players to open up space, so even though pieces like Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn may seem expendable, it is hard to imagine the team trading them in-season as opposed to waiting for the off-season.
As a result, Tampa has little space to work with and that means their targets will not be high-priced pieces. The most likely result for the Bolts is that they add a cheap depth piece in exchange for a late pick or low-end prospect. Those are the “chips” that will probably move, if there is any move at all.
In the event that Tampa tries to make a bigger move, using the very limit of their salary cap potential despite the risks, they will still be looking at a picks-and-prospects scenario in this buyer’s market. Without a second-round pick for the next two years, the Lightning’s first-rounders are probably off the table unless they are asking a team to give up one of the top rentals on the market and retain the maximum 50% of his salary in order to make the deal work under the cap. The likelihood of such a deal is low. Expect for them instead to dangle multiple mid-round picks and prospects like Jack Finley or Jack Thompson if they really want to make a splash.
1) Defense – If, and it’s a big if, the Lightning are able to find a way to clear enough cap space to add a player of note at the deadline, it has to be on the blue line. The forward corps is deep and talented and will only get better once the postseason arrives and Kucherov can return. The net is well-manned, with Andrei Vasilevskiy enjoying another Vezina-caliber season. Both of those units remain largely unchanged from last season’s title-winning lineup. However, the defense has taken a hit. The top four is still stout, but the bottom pair and depth options range from young and inexperienced to old and ineffective. Tampa could really use a stabilizing force on the back end, especially with Jan Rutta sidelined and Erik Cernak dealing with a nagging injury. Of course, cost will be a factor. Without making a trade to move out salary, the Bolts can only open up another $1.5MM max and still be able to ice a full lineup, demoting the likes of Luke Schenn and Ben Thomas. That leaves the Bolts with a maximum $1.9MM or so to acquire a defenseman, but adding that much salary is a risk should another injury occur. The need is there, but the means to address it are problematic. The team likely thinks small with a value addition.
Camp cuts will come fast and furious today, with the waiver wire taking dozens and dozens of names in the final day before taxi squad assignments must be made. Remember, just being placed on waivers does not necessarily mean you’ve been cut from the team. With that in mind, we’ll keep track of the team-announced cuts right here:
Buffalo Sabres (via team release):
F Brandon Biro (to Rochester, AHL)
F Steven Fogarty (to Rochester, AHL)
F Brett Murray (to Rochester, AHL)
F C.J. Smith (to Rochester, AHL)
D Casey Fitzgerald (to Rochester, AHL)
G Dustin Tokarski (to Rochester, AHL)
D Ryan Jones (to Rochester, AHL)
G Michael Houser (to Rochester, AHL)
Chicago Blackhawks (via team release):
F Andrei Altybarmakian (to Rockford, AHL)
F Evan Barratt (to Rockford, AHL)
F Matej Chalupa (to Rockford, AHL)
F MacKenzie Entwistle (to Rockford, AHL)
F Reese Johnson (to Rockford, AHL)
F Cam Morrison (to Rockford, AHL)
F Tim Soderlund (to Rockford, AHL)
F Michal Teply (to Rockford, AHL)
D Chad Krys (to Rockford, AHL)
D Alec Regula (to Rockford, AHL)
F Michael Krutil (released)
G Cale Morris (released)
Columbus Blue Jackets (via team release):
G Veini Vehvilainen (to Cleveland, AHL)
F Tyler Angle (released)
F Justin Scott (released)
D Thomas Schemitsch (released)
G Brad Thiessen (released)
Los Angeles Kings (via team release):
F Aidan Dudas (to Ontario, AHL)
F Mikey Eyssimont (to Ontario, AHL)
F Samuel Fagemo (to Ontario, AHL)
F Boko Imama (to Ontario, AHL)
F Rasmus Kupari (to Ontario, AHL)
F Tyler Madden (to Ontario, AHL)
F Akil Thomas (to Ontario, AHL)
D Daniel Brickley (to Ontario, AHL)
D Sean Durzi (to Ontario, AHL)
D Jacob Moverare (to Ontario, AHL)
D Markus Phillips (to Ontario, AHL)
G Jacob Ingham (to Ontario, AHL)
G Matt Villalta (to Ontario, AHL)
Minnesota Wild (via team release):
F Mitchell Chaffee (to Iowa, AHL)
F Joseph Cramarossa (to Iowa, AHL)
F Connor Dewar (to Iowa, AHL)
F Brandon Duhaime (to Iowa, AHL)
F Gabriel Dumont (to Iowa, AHL)
F Mason Shaw (to Iowa, AHL)
D Calen Addison (to Iowa, AHL)
D Ian McCoshen (to Iowa, AHL)
G Dereck Baribeau (to Iowa, AHL)
G Hunter Jones (to Iowa, AHL)
New Jersey Devils (via team release):
F Nate Schnarr (to Binghamton, AHL)
F Brett Seney (to Binghamton, AHL)
D Kevin Bahl (to Binghamton, AHL)
D Nikita Okhotiuk (to Binghamton, AHL)
D Reilly Walsh (to Binghamton, AHL)
G Evan Cormier (to Binghamton, AHL)
Pittsburgh Penguins (via team release):
F Josh Currie (to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, AHL)
F Radim Zohorna (to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, AHL)
D Kevin Czuczman (to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, AHL)
D Cam Lee (to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, AHL)
F Nathan Legare (to Val d’Or, QMJHL)
F Samuel Poulin (to Sherbrooke, QMJHL)
F Jordan Nolan (to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, AHL)
San Jose Sharks (via team release):
F Lean Bergmann (to San Jose, AHL)
F Alexander True (to San Jose, AHL)
F Joachim Blichfeld (to San Jose, AHL)
F Jayden Halbgewachs (to San Jose, AHL)
D Jaycob Megna (to San Jose, AHL)
D Ryan Merkley (to San Jose, AHL)
G Josef Korenar (to San Jose, AHL)
Tampa Bay Lightning (via team release):
F Alex Barre-Boulet (to Syracuse, AHL)
F Ross Colton (to Syracuse, AHL)
F Jack Finley (to Syracuse, AHL)
F Gage Goncalves (to Syracuse, AHL)
F Jimmy Huntington (to Syracuse, AHL)
F Boris Katchouk (to Syracuse, AHL)
F Taylor Raddysh (to Syracuse, AHL)
D Sean Day (to Syracuse, AHL)
D Alex Green (to Syracuse, AHL)
D Dmitry Semykin (to Syracuse, AHL)
F Daniel Walcott (to Syracuse, AHL)*
F/D Luke Witkowski (to Syracuse, AHL)*
G Spencer Martin (to Syracuse, AHL)*
Toronto Maple Leafs (via team release):
F Kenny Agostino (to Toronto, AHL)*
F Joey Anderson (to Toronto, AHL)
F Pierre Engvall (to Toronto, AHL)
F Nic Petan (to Toronto, AHL)
D Mac Hollowell (to Toronto, AHL)
D Teemu Kivihalme (to Toronto, AHL)
D Timothy Liljegren (to Toronto, AHL)
D Martin Marincin (to Toronto, AHL)*
D Calle Rosen (to Toronto, AHL)*
G Michael Hutchinson (to Toronto, AHL)
F Justin Brazeau (to Toronto, AHL)
F Rourke Chartier (to Toronto, AHL)
F Tyler Gaudet (to Toronto, AHL)
F Scott Sabourin (to Toronto, AHL)
Vegas Golden Knights (via team release):
F Jake Leschyshyn (to Henderson, AHL)
F Lucas Elvenes (to Henderson, AHL)
F Jack Dugan (to Henderson, AHL)
F Ben Jones (to Henderson, AHL)
F Peyton Krebs (to Henderson, AHL)
D Kaedan Korczak (to Henderson, AHL)
D Jimmy Schuldt (to Henderson, AHL)
D Brayden Pachal (to Henderson, AHL)
D Connor Corcoran (to Henderson, AHL)
G Logan Thompson (to Henderson, AHL)
G Dylan Ferguson (to Henderson, AHL)
Washington Capitals (via team release):
F Kody Clark (to Hershey, AHL)
F Brett Leason (to Hershey, AHL)
F Garrett Pilon (to Hershey, AHL)
F Joe Snively (to Hershey, AHL)
F Riley Sutter (to Hershey, AHL)
F Axel Jonsson-Fjallby (to Hershey, AHL)
F Hendrix Lapierre (to Chicoutimi, QMJHL)
Winnipeg Jets (via team release):
F Joona Luoto (to Manitoba, AHL)
F Skyler McKenzie (to Manitoba, AHL)
F Kristian Reichel (to Manitoba, AHL)
D Declan Chisholm (to Manitoba, AHL)
D Luke Green (to Manitoba, AHL)
D Johnathan Kovacevic (to Manitoba, AHL)
G Mikhail Berdin (to Manitoba, AHL)
D Jimmy Oligny (to Manitoba, AHL)
G Cole Kehler (released)
*Must clear waivers first.