Latest on the Canadiens and Lightning – March 17, 2017
Updates on Montreal Canadiens winger Alexander Radulov contract talks plus the Tampa Bay Lightning’s lack of cap space to re-sign key players in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN: John Lu and Brian Wilde cited a TSN 690 report claiming the agent for Montreal Canadiens right wing Alexander Radulov seeks an eight-year contract extension. Both doubt Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin will give the 31-year-old Radulov a deal of that length. Wilde hopes this is merely the negotiation start point from the Radulov camp and believes a five-year deal is the maximum he’ll get, perhaps for around $7 million per season.
Pierre LeBrun agrees that Radulov won’t get eight years from the Habs. He also thinks a five-year term is more reasonable and also notes this is simply the start point in negotiations,sugesting they could reach a realistic term by June.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Radulov isn’t getting eight years. Five years at best with a cap hit between $6.5 – $7 million annually is what he could get from the Habs. If his agent thinks his client will get a better deal elsewhere, he’s welcome to try.
SPORTSNET: Mike Johnston reports the Tampa Bay Lightning don’t have a lot of salary coming off the books for next season. That could affect their efforts to re-sign their key players and to bring in assets such as a top-four defenseman via free agency this summer. Forwards Jonathan Drouins, Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat are restricted free agents who will be in line for raises.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning have over $55 million invested in 13 players next season. Johnson and Palat could cost between $11-$12 million combined to re-sign. Both currently have annual cap hits of $3.33 million and carry arbitration rights this summers. Drouin could be re-signed to a short-term bridge deal coming off his entry-level year. Still, that could cost the Bolts perhaps around $4 million.
Assuming the cap rises to $76 million, if it costs a combined $15 million to re-sign those three, it won’t leave much room to fill out the rest of the roster and still add a top-four blueliner. Trades could be in the offing, with perhaps one of those key RFA forwards being dealt for a defenseman.