Latest on the Lightning & Red Wings – September 4, 2016

by | Sep 4, 2016 | Rumors | 28 comments

The Tampa Bay Lightning will have to free up salary-cap room for Nikita Kucherov's new contract.

The Tampa Bay Lightning will have to free up salary-cap room for Nikita Kucherov’s new contract.

 Speculation on possible moves by the Lightning plus an update on Jimmy Howard in your NHL rumor mill. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES:  Joe Smith reports Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman and head coach Jon Cooper remain confident of getting restricted free agent forward Nikita Kucherov re-signed before the start of the upcoming season.  The cost of re-signing him, however, could run from between $6 million per season (comparable to Nashville’s Filip Forsberg) to $7.5 million (similar to St. Louis’ Vladimir Tarasenko).

While the Bolts currently have $6.2 million in cap space, that will shrink by re-signing defenseman Nikita Nesterov or if they add an affordable 14th forward. They will get some cap relief by placing Ryan Callahan (hip surgery) on LTIR at the start of the season until he returns in mid-November.

Smith points out the Lighting can free up some cap space by making a trade, “whether that’s goalie Ben Bishop ($5.95 million cap hit, partial no move clause), Valtteri Filppula ($5 million cap hit, no move clause), or defenseman Jason Garrison ($4.6 million, NTC). Dealing Brian Boyle ($2 million) or Erik Condra ($1.25 million) wouldn’t save them a ton.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After signing Kucherov, placing Callahan ($5.8 million) on LTIR is the most obvious way to address this in the short term. However, they’ll have to be cap compliant when he returns to action. A trade appears the likeliest route. Bishop, Filppula or Garrison could be on the move before the start of the season, but finding trade partners might not be easy. Bishop is the most valuable, but his partial no move and cap hit limits where he can be dealt. Filppula’s offensive stats have steadily declined in recent years. Garrison approved a trade from Vancouver to Tampa Bay in 2014. If his NTC remains in effect, will he approve another trade? Time will tell. 

MLIVE.COM:  Ansar Khan recently profiled Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard for the upcoming season. He points out the Wings’ efforts to trade Howard this summer were thwarted by a limited trade market, his contract ($5.291 million per season) and inconsistent play over the last two seasons. Howard is expected to start this season backing up Petr Mrazek. Khan expects he’ll be exposed in next June’s expansion draft. If not selected by Las Vegas, the Wings could try to trade him. A buyout is also possible. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another inconsistent season and it’s unlikely Las Vegas selects him in the expansion draft. Unless the Wings are willing to absorb a good chunk of his cap hit, they won’t find many takers via the trade market. A buyout could be their only option. 


  1. Since Howard won’t be the only goalie with NHL experience available in the expansion draft, why on earth would Las Vegas waste a pick on a grossly-overpaid stiff who turns 33 next March?

    • This is what I’ve been saying all along. Unless there are a rash of injuries to key goalies, Howard will be bought out.

    • Only hope I have of Howard playing for Vegas is the Wings give a pick in return for Vegas selecting him.

    • maybe they will gamble on him lol

  2. Steve Yzerman probably has the number for the Coyotes on speed dial. Arizona seems to be the home for unwanted contracts these days. Is Kucherov worth the kind of money you mentioned, Lyle?

    • i think he is worth it right now but without the guys around him in tb he might not be worth the big money

  3. I have said it before. There will a ton of good players available that teams will have to expose and can only hope they get lucky to whom Vegas selects….not sure how the Bolts get out of this one unless Kucherov takes a discount (like Stamkos) and maybe a bridge deal of some sort

    • Really don’t see kuch taking a discount yzerman will have to make a trade he probably doesn’t want to

  4. Bishop or Fleury in Buffalo

    • Perhaps the Senators by the trade deadline make a move for Fleury or Bishop. Fleury probably be the one as he is likely the most affordable.

      • Depends on the return but I would listen to what Ottawa and Buffalo say. The Pens would be willing to take back a goalie as long as he has a lower cap hit and no no trade clause of any kind. Like maybe Fleury for Anderson and Curtis Lazar? I don’t know about taking anders Nilsson but Robin Lehner and Hudson Fashing or Asplund would work just fine.

      • Whoa. Fleury for Anderson AND Lazar?? I don’t think so. Since Tampa got Bishop for Conacher, they’d likely deal Bishop back to Ottawa for Lazar alone, as the key element would be to move cap space. Bu all this is purely off-the-wall conjecture. First of all, we’ll have to see how O’Connor’s development goes this year in Binghamton, and they can’t forget about Dreidger who has performed well both in the AHL (with a bad team in front of him) and when brought up to Ottawa. There is also the Swede Marcus Hogberg who has been performing well in the Swedish Elite league, so their future replacement for Anderson may already be in the system.

      • Oh for sure George. I’d be surprised if anyone thought I meant the Sens would be making a trade for a goalie. I know little of Driedger, only read the odd article with a small blurb regarding him. Yet I get the feeling he is a career minor leaguer.

      • My above comments were directed at Deeeeeee. As for Dreidger, drafted in the 3rd round, he only came out of junior (Calgary Hitmen) after the 2013-14 season, so as far as goalies go, he’s still in the development stage and is still listed as a top prospect in the Ottawa chain. He’s 6′ 4″ 205 lbs and has been the better goalie in the AHL when compared to O’Connor – at least so far.

    • That would upgrade that team seriously. I could see MAF reuniting with Bylsma.

    • This is an interesting idea. Buffalo has its eggs in the Lehner basket but most people do not think they are a playoff team with him. If GMTM didnt spend a 1st round pick on Lehner, I think he’d go after a Bishop or Fleury.
      The only way I can see Buffalo doing a deal for the goalie this year is if they become too impatient in their rebuild. Why trade for Bish if he is going to be a FA next year ? TB would have to sweeten the pot to make it worth while, maybe by adding a nice prospect in the deal. A guy like Dumont perhaps.
      I never thought of Buffalo as a destination but it does make sense.

  5. The Lightings cap crisis is making that Callahan deal look worse and worse.

  6. I can really see the Leafs jumping in on some of these Guy’s.

    • Don’t need any of them. Stay the course.

      • Ignore Oil Fan – he just likes being a s*^T-disturber. Most everyone now lets him deposit his crap without comment.

  7. Say what you want about kucherov, but he aint no Tarasenko!
    He should accept everything that equals 5m or more. Sign a team friendly contract. He would not excel like this in many other teams, so now punish the team that made him succesful by demanding 7m? “Team” new spelling in sports is “to-me”.

    • Exactly what I said above adoe

  8. Hey Deeeeeee

    Fleury for Lehner and Fasching/Asplund? So does that mean you’re throwing in Kessel or 2 prospects? Lehner is better, younger and cheaper than the choke artist Fleury. You might wanna lay off the bottle before you post from now on.

    • I think you need off the bottle to dan what has Lehner ever proven? He gets hurt a whole lot? Every team would take fleury over Lehner at this s stage in their careers

    • The choke-artist that won the cup the year after he backstopped them to a final? Think you’re a little harch (spell) 🙂

  9. I would like to see Hextall make the move for Bishop. He would be a much better long term solution in net that Mason, even if Mason shines in his audition for UFA. Mason in Tampa would give them a solid vet in case Vas is still not ready for 50+ starts and would free up about 2 mil in cap space.

    • I think the drop off between Mason and Bishop is marginal. And Hextall will sign either Mase or Neuwirth to an extension next summer as both will be UFAs. Prospect goalie Anthony Stolarz would likely be the back up at that point. He was an AHL all-star last season.

      • Not to mention cap space. Bishop will command a huge salary next season and the Flyers don’t have space to make that happen.