It’s well-known that Tampa Bay has to clear up some cap space and Wednesday’s re-signing of Mikhail Sergachev only further cemented that as it put them over the $81.5MM Upper Limit with two restricted free agents (center Anthony Cirelli and defenseman Erik Cernak) still to sign. Speaking with reporters, including Joe Smith of The Athletic (subscription link), GM Julien BriseBois indicated that some progress has been made in trying to accomplish that:
There’s a lot of progress being made. We’re working on a bunch of different fronts, there’s a lot of balls up in the air. Nothing has materialized yet.
Even if Cirelli and Cernak take short-term contracts to keep the AAV down (which is the likeliest scenario at this point), it’s doubtful that moving out one player will be enough to get them back into compliance. Tyler Johnson is known to be available but he passed through waivers unclaimed earlier this offseason. With few teams having the ability to take on pricey contracts, BriseBois and the Lightning still have a lot of work to do.
Elsewhere around the league:
- Flyers defenseman Samuel Morin has fully recovered from his second ACL surgery, notes Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The 25-year-old has been limited to just 11 games combined over the past two seasons with Philadelphia and AHL Lehigh Valley and as a result, head coach Alain Vigneault believes that Morin will have to at least start next season with the Phantoms (assuming he clears waivers). He’s entering the final year of his contract and will have a lot of work to do to prove himself worth of a qualifying offer next offseason.
- Despite Canada’s World Junior team having to shut things down for two weeks for quarantining purposes, they haven’t ruled out the possibility of Rangers winger Alexis Lafreniere joining them, Hockey Canada’s Scott Salmond told reporters, including TSN’s Mark Masters (Twitter link). Discussions remain ongoing with New York about the top pick being made available. At this point, the uncertain status of the start of next season is likely holding things up but if it’s pushed back in the near future, it would become more palatable for Lafreniere to be made available.