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Depth deals kick off the first day of free agency for the Lightning

Depth could easily describe the signings made by the Tampa Bay Lightning as free agency began on the first day of July. With the salary cap not going up as much as anyone hoped, General manager Julian BriseBois had to be smart with the moves made to revamp the roster. With Ross Colton and Corey Perry already traded elsewhere who else would have to say goodbye in order for more moves to be made. Heading into the first day of free agency the biggest question was what will happen to Alex Killorn and Tanner Jeannot.


Saying goodbye to Killer

Unfortunately, it was reported that Killorn would not return to the Lightning and eventually signed a four-year deal worth an AAV of $6.25M with the Anahiem Ducks. The team tried to re-sign him prior to free agency beginning but the two sides were unable to get a deal done. Ian Cole also found a new home that being the Vancouver Canucks on a one-year deal worth $1.9M. As of right now those are the only two Bolts moving elsewhere Other notable free agents on the main roster still not signed include Brian Elliott and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. Obviosuly, neither of them would be re-signed by the Lightning as the team looked elsewhere to fill the hole.

Starting the day off with forwards

Afterwards, Lightning did make moves in order to add much needed depth to the lineup. Of those news the most significant one was Conor Sheary. Lightning signed him to a three-year deal worth an AAV of $2M. In his last season with the Washington Capitals Sheary scored 15 goals and 22 assists in 82 games. Sheary will add some much needed speed to the lineup along with physical play to cause turnovers. Later, Lightning signed forwards Luke Glendening and Josh Archibald. Both players received a two-year deal worth an AAV of $800K.

Adding depth for the bottom lines and a new backup

Glendening is most likely a Perry replacement while Archibald will be used to add speed and kill penalties on the bottom lines. All three forwards were also signed to bring back that gritty play to the bottom six that was on display during the back-to-back cup runs. Clearly, a new backup to Andrei Vasilevskiy was needed after Elliott was not brought back. As a result, Lightning signed goaltender Jonas Johansson to a two-year contract worth an AAV of of $775K. Johansson mostly played in the AHL for the Avalanche last year with a record of 14-9-2, 2.33 GAA, and a .920 SV%. He will most likely be the backup goalie for the next couple of seasons.

AHL signings

Finishing off, Lightning made more minor depth moves as the first day of free agency came to a close. These moves included yet more forwards those being Logan Brown and Mitchell Chaffee. Brown’s deal is a two-way contract and both players received the same contract that being for one-year worth $775K. The pair will start the season off in the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch. Both will have a chance to fight for a roster spot as the season carries on. BriesBois brought up how he is confident in the development program and always sees players have a chance at establishing themselves as major league players that including Brown and Chaffee.

Jeannot and future preparations

In conclusion, while it was sad to see Killorn go it was a move that had to be made in favor of adding to the lineup in the future. The cap may have not gone up as much as we would all liked it to, but as always, the team has to work with what they have. BriseBois did mention he was in talks with Jeannot’s representation and hopes to get him signed within the coming days.  Steven Stamkos and Brandon Hagel will need new contracts by next summer, but the team will worry about that when the time comes. Salary cap is expected to rise significantly next season which will help in future moves and is also why a lot of short-term deals were made.


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