Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev is set to be one of the more intriguing restricted free agents this offseason. He had set a new career high in goals with 10 just before the suspension of the season while he had a chance at reaching the 40-point mark for the second time in his career. That will have him in line for a sizable raise on his next deal but as he told reporters, including NHL.com’s Dan Rosen, there have been no discussions regarding his next contract.
Sergachev cited the uncertainty surrounding next year’s salary cap as a big factor as to why talks haven’t started yet. Tampa Bay’s salary cap situation is particularly interesting as they have more than $76MM committed to just 15 players for next season already and a levelled off cap won’t be enough to re-sign Sergachev and their other restricted free agents and fill out the rest of their roster. Accordingly, it appears the Lightning will have to move some players out before next season and they may want to wait until the offseason to make those decisions.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic Division:
- The Red Wings have not held any talks with their pending free agents during this stoppage, notes Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News. Winger Anthony Mantha is their top restricted free agent of note and indicated that he’s unconcerned about the lack of talks. Back in March, he had stated that he was hoping to get a long-term deal done with Detroit but the fact he only has played in 43 games this season due to knee and lung issues may make that a bit more challenging.
- The Canadiens’ AHL affiliate in Laval announced that they’ve signed center Liam Hawel to a one-year, one-way AHL deal. The 21-year-old wrapped up his junior career this season with OHL Kitchener, recording 23 goals and 48 assists in 54 games to sit second on the team in scoring. Hawel was a fourth-round pick (101st overall) of Dallas back in 2017 but was not signed to an entry-level contract.