NHL Draft rumblings: What the Lightning are as much as, Utah’s protection haul, Guentzel, Reinhart and extra TERMAN WEBSITE

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LAS VEGAS — Day 2 positive wasn’t boring on the NHL Draft, and it started with the Tampa Bay Lightning setting off fireworks contained in the Sphere.

The cap-clearing trades of Mikhail Sergachev ($8.5 million common annual worth) to Utah and Tanner Jeannot ($2.6 million AAV) to the Los Angeles Kings grabbed everybody’s consideration.

What’s it establishing subsequent?

Lightning common supervisor Julien BriseBois did circle again to veteran agent Don Meehan on Saturday relating to pending unrestricted free agent Steven Stamkos, so there’s that. However in all chance, that is about one other potential massive transfer, and league sources level to sturdy curiosity from the Bolts in pending UFA Jake Guentzel.

“Because the calendar turned to June and it regarded unlikely we’d have the ability to come to phrases with Stammer on a contract, and common managers are beginning to chat extra about our respective wants and needs and doable commerce eventualities, we began to do deeper dives when it comes to due diligence on potential unrestricted free brokers and began exploring varied commerce prospects,” BriseBois stated after the draft Saturday.

“Within the final week right here, as our group hunkered down collectively in Vegas, one of many avenues we began exploring extra severely was presumably utilizing the truth that we’re actually sturdy on the left aspect of our D-core to handle our ahead group. Reallocate some cap area between the 2 positions to finish up with a stronger, extra balanced crew. And that’s the place the thought of buying and selling Mikhail Sergachev to Utah began to take form.

“The top result’s that we gave up a two-time Stanley Cup-winning, stud 26-year-old No. 1 defenseman. However, we find yourself with a youthful top-four defenseman in JJ Moser, during which we nonetheless see the potential for development. We purchase a 20-year-old high-end prospect who performs a premium place in Conor Geekie. We haven’t had the luxurious of getting a prospect of this excessive of a profile in a few years.”

The Jeannot commerce cleared extra cap area and netted a second- and a fourth-round decide.

However the true story right here is that Tampa Bay immediately has probably the most cap area it has had in a really very long time.

“The hope is that this newfound cap area, our favorable taxation state of affairs and the chance to play with some nice gamers ought to make us an interesting vacation spot when free brokers must make choices on the place to signal come July 1,” BriseBois stated. “The surprising consequence of this newfound cap area is that plenty of groups are actually reaching out about gamers that may be accessible.”


Julien Brisebois has to get inventive this offseason to get his crew again to successful within the playoffs. (Andy Devlin / Getty Photographs)

As for Stamkos, the longtime face of the franchise, it doesn’t seem as if Saturday modified rather a lot.

“I met with Don Meehan once more this morning following the commerce,” BriseBois stated. “The plan is for Steven to check the free-agent market. Our respective positions haven’t modified following in the present day’s trades. I perceive that if you get this near free company, it may be tempting to see what the market has to give you. It was a threat I used to be taking after I didn’t go to Steven a 12 months early. And to be honest, I instructed Donnie that I believe it’s in the most effective curiosity of our group to discover all choices within the coming days, whether or not it’s by way of trades or by attending to free company and seeing how we are able to use this cover area to enhance the make-up of our crew.”

The NHL is a enterprise firstly, however you do must surprise if the Lightning are underestimating what Stamkos means to that market and dressing room.

Once more, all indicators now level to a much bigger play for Guentzel, but when they will’t reel him in, they’ve the flexibleness to pursue different choices as properly.

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Utah makes a splash

Utah Hockey Membership expects to be gamers when free company opens Monday, however there was a restrict to how a lot purchasing GM Invoice Armstrong wished to depart for the open market.

A part of the enchantment of the draft-shaking trades to amass Sergachev and John Marino on Saturday morning was getting two confirmed commodities of their primes with loads of time period nonetheless remaining on their contracts.

Had he not made these additions, Armstrong would have left himself susceptible getting into the free-agent interval. Utah really began this week with no NHL defensemen beneath contract for subsequent season, and that possible would have sophisticated negotiations with brokers, who virtually actually would have tried to make use of it as leverage for his or her purchasers.

“For those who’re filling three holes, it’s fairly powerful,” Armstrong stated.

Two have been crammed with trades introduced six minutes aside and should finally have introduced again Utah’s prime protection pairing. They be a part of a blue line that now has 4 gamers beneath contract (Juuso Valimaki re-signed Saturday and Michael Kesselring Friday) with one other the crew is assured it would get a deal finished with (RFA Sean Durzi).

Sergachev will definitely change into the crew’s No. 1 following seven seasons in Tampa. Nonetheless solely 26 and a two-time Cup winner, Sergachev was lauded by Armstrong for his potential to contribute in each side of the sport. The Utah GM has had him on his radar for a while now and believes he’ll be a pacesetter who might help carry alongside the group’s younger Russian prospects, together with final 12 months’s No. 6 decide, Dmitriy Simashev.

“We wished to cement a top-end D that may play a ton of minutes,” Armstrong stated. “Good thick physique on him. He performs laborious. He blocks photographs. Can play on the offense and the protection. He’s received. He’s acquired rather a lot to carry into our tradition.”

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Sergachev is signed for six extra seasons.

Marino is coming off a down 12 months in New Jersey, however appears like a powerful candidate to bounce again. The 27-year-old right-shot is a high-end skater and a possession driver who’s beneath contract by way of 2026-27.

When free company opens, Armstrong will nonetheless be trying to signal one other defenseman, ideally one who can play the left aspect. However he can take consolation in understanding that he doesn’t must construct the whole factor up from scratch.

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Is Utah Hockey Membership playoff-bound after including Mikhail Sergachev and John Marino?

Stanley Cup free brokers

Whereas his gamers proceed to have a good time their Stanley Cup victory, Florida Panthers GM Invoice Zito is doing no matter he can to maintain the crew collectively.

A very powerful order of enterprise is getting Sam Reinhart’s signature on an extension earlier than he hits the open market. Florida would clearly like to retain the 57-goal man, who’s due a increase on the $6.5 million annual contract he simply completed. It’s simply not clear if it is going to be capable of.

Among the many crew’s different pending UFAs are Vladimir Tarasenko, Kyle Okposo, Nick Cousins, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Dmitry Kulikov and Brandon Montour.

Discussions between Zito and the brokers for these gamers didn’t even actually get going till after the Panthers beat Edmonton in Recreation 7 earlier this week.

“All people knew what was occurring,” stated Zito. “All people knew, ‘Effectively, we are able to’t actually do that now.’ I talked to the brokers and stated, ‘Hear, be prepared the day after.’”

The crew will maintain its Stanley Cup parade and celebration in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday.

Then Zito dives instantly into free company.

“We’re going to try to hold everyone,” he instructed The Athletic. “Clearly it’s a particular group, and we’ll attempt to hold as many guys as we are able to and be conscious that there’s alternative (on the open market) for folks. We’ve got a cap. Radko Gudas (who signed with the Anaheim Geese final summer time) was an excellent instance, however what? That’s good for us too. Whereas that’s a loss in a single space, then perhaps the subsequent man will come and say ‘OK, it labored out for me.’”

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The Devils made a pair of trades Saturday, one establishing a possible UFA signing Monday, the opposite addressing a necessity for extra sandpaper.

First, the Devils shipped Marino to Utah for a pair of second-round picks. It’s a transfer that seems to arrange the UFA signing of Brett Pesce on Monday, in accordance with league sources.

“We’d prefer to be aggressive in free company,” Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald instructed The Athletic after the commerce, not naming any free agent by identify, in fact. “And to be trustworthy with you, getting a second-round decide for in the present day in that deal was actually essential for my crew — the goalie that we picked. Marty Brodeur was begging to get him a second-round decide. And the one method I might do this was with John Marino.

“John is a good participant. He’s going to assist Utah. We simply really feel like, ‘Let’s get within the (UFA) market.’ In order that’s the place we’re going.”


Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald made some surprising strikes Saturday. (Bruce Bennett / Getty Photographs)

Then got here a commerce that had lots of people buzzing, with the Devils transferring Alexander Holtz and Akira Schmid to Vegas for Paul Cotter and a 2025 third-round decide.

It’s a deal that wasn’t acquired favorably by loads of Devils followers, giving up on a latest first-round decide in Holtz. However I get what New Jersey is doing. The Devils misplaced a sure dimension when Miles Wooden went to the Colorado Avalanche.

And within the greater image, as we noticed with the Panthers reworking themselves two years in the past from an offense-only crew to a balanced, bodily and defensively acutely aware crew that simply received the Cup, the Devils really feel they should change into extra balanced. It’s not nearly scoring targets.

“It was a possibility so as to add a participant with measurement, skating potential and physicality,” Fitzgerald stated of Cotter. “We consider he’s solely scratching the floor of his potential. With that, that you must give to get. Alex would have discovered himself because the odd man out. I’m trying to construct a sure sort of backside six.

“With Schmid, he would have been our No. 4 this 12 months. With our new tandem (Jacob Markstrom and Jake Allen), he slipped within the depth chart.”

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Preds’ plan on Askarov

The Nashville Predators will proceed to hear on younger goalie Yaroslav Askarov, however after not with the ability to transfer up within the first spherical Friday, Nashville can also be comfy maintaining him round and giving him the chance to be taught from Juuse Saros, whose new eight-year, $61.92 million extension ought to be finalized and introduced Monday.

“Individuals are phoning on him (Askarov), clearly. With us getting near getting Saros finished, clearly the rumors begin and also you guys have one thing to put in writing about,” Preds GM Barry Trotz stated with a smile on Saturday. “However goaltending, you possibly can’t have an excessive amount of of.

“Keep in mind what we did with Pekka Rinne and (a youthful) Saros, and earlier than that Pekka Rinne and Chris Mason, and earlier than that Tomas Vokoun. I believe there’s a development. Up to now Askarov, I don’t know too many 21-year-old goaltenders which can be main their crew within the Nationwide Hockey League.

“It’s at all times that gradual burn with goalies, the place you proceed to refine your sport and proceed to develop your confidence as a goaltender.”

Once more, the Preds are open to listening on Askarov, however they’re wonderful maintaining him round to be taught from Saros, too.

“I’ve to take heed to calls, and if there’s one thing that is sensible for us, then we’ll do it,” Trotz stated. “However there’s no timeframe, no urgency on my half.”

In the meantime, the Predators are hoping to land an offensive piece or two in free company and change Ryan McDonagh on the blue line. League sources stated Nashville will push laborious on Stamkos and Brady Skjei, amongst different choices. The Preds even have curiosity in Chandler Stephenson.

“I’d love so as to add a bit on the again finish and love so as to add up entrance as properly,” Trotz stated. “I believe want a little bit extra pop up entrance.”

Avs cap dance

Avs GM Chris MacFarland may very well be seen chatting with veteran agent Allan Walsh after Saturday’s draft wrapped up.

It was clearly about pending UFA Jonathan Drouin.

Walsh a couple of moments earlier instructed The Athletic he remained in talks with Colorado to get Drouin re-signed, which was additionally what MacFarland instructed us.

“Yeah we’re in discussions with them,” MacFarland stated. “Clearly there’s a deadline (when the market opens Monday), and we simply acquired to try to discover a candy spot. He’s a man we’d actually prefer to have again. He had an excellent 12 months final 12 months. Performed phenomenal. I’m biased clearly — I believe our state of affairs was actually good for him, too, to succeed.

“So we’ll see the place we are able to go.”


Avs GM Chris MacFarland has a difficult cap state of affairs to navigate. (Andy Cross / Getty Photographs)

The larger query that continues to hold over the group is what occurs subsequent with Gabriel Landeskog and Valeri Nichushkin.

Landeskog hasn’t performed in two years as he continues to get better from a kind of knee surgical procedure that no NHLer has beforehand come again to play from. And Nichushkin stays suspended with out pay within the midst of a six-month rehab stint as a part of being in Stage 3 of the NHL-NHLPA participant help program.

It begs the query: How does Colorado handle these uncertainties, when it comes to their impression on the roster?

“It’s laborious,” MacFarland stated. “Two difficult conditions for various causes clearly. I believe with Val, he’s doing what he has to do hopefully this summer time to get higher for him and his household. And hopefully does properly. That one is a little more clear when it comes to there’s a path to get again (in November).”

With Landeskog, there aren’t any ensures about how he’ll fare or really feel as soon as he tries to play once more.

“Knock on wooden: He’s feeling good,” MacFarland stated. “He’s doing his rehab. I consider he’s rising some issues after which it’s simply learn and react off of that. However the distinction from final 12 months, once we knew he was out 12 months — this 12 months we don’t. We’re hopeful that he’ll be again, however I can’t say he’ll or received’t. So does that current cap challenges? Sure, it does.”

However the backside line proper now could be that the Avs must proceed like each of these salaries are on the books subsequent season. They’ll’t tie up that cap area with different strikes.

MacFarland made it clear that he’s not entertaining commerce presents on Nichushkin.

“Proper now, I’d say it’s not even a spotlight,” he stated. “The main target for Val is to hopefully get higher after which go from there.”

Different fast pending UFA updates

• Carolina, as of Saturday afternoon, had not given up hope on re-signing Guentzel. Hurricanes proprietor Tom Dundon spoke with Guentzel’s agent, Ben Hankinson, on the draft on Saturday.

The Hurricanes this week provided Guentzel an eight-year, $64 million deal. However as each hour ticks by, it appears extra possible that Guentzel needs to see what’s on the market. As talked about above, Tampa Bay is now an actual possibility. And all alongside, there’s been curiosity from the Vancouver Canucks, amongst different groups.

It’s an enormous marketplace for Guentzel. Right here’s one other situation to ponder: Would Carolina be keen to participate in a sign-and-trade? That might enable Guentzel to get eight years out of it and the Canes to get an asset again in return. It’s a troublesome factor to drag off in such a short while body.

• Veteran agent Pat Brisson may very well be seen Saturday at Sphere assembly with Purple Wings GM Steve Yzerman relating to pending UFA Patrick Kane.

“We’re nonetheless speaking to Detroit,” Brisson stated. “The intention is to try to work one thing out.”

• Brisson additionally met Saturday with Vegas GM Kelly McCrimmon on pending UFA Jonathan Marchessault.

Prime picture of Steven Stamkos: Mike Ehrmann / Getty Photographs)

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