Is it officially the end of the Tampa Bay Lightning?

For a second consecutive year, the Tampa Bay Lightning suffered elimination in the first round of the playoffs. Are we witnessing the fall of hockey’s newest dynasty?

Seeing Steven Stamkos wait for long minutes on Monday evening until all the Lightning players had left the ice before also retreating to the locker room, it was difficult not to imagine that he may have played his part. last game in Tampa Bay.

Stamkos will be an unrestricted free agent on the 1ster next July and the team’s general manager Julien BriseBois had mentioned a few times that there would be no question of contract extension with the 34-year-old striker before the end of the season.

Both parties will have a decision to make. You should obviously never bet against Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman, Brayden Point and Andrei Vasilevsky, but the core of the team is aging and the Lightning no longer have the depth they had during the conquests of 2020 and 2021 as well as during of the 2022 final.

Here is the status of the team, as of today.

Nearly $77 million in salaries for the 2024-2025 season

Brayden Point is the Lightning’s highest paid player with an annual salary of $9.5M, tied with Nikita Kucherov.

Photo AFP

Steven Stamkos, Anthony Duclair, Matt Dumba are the three main players on the team who will become unrestricted free agents on the 1er July. Taking them out of the equation, we realize that the Lightning are already committed for $76.9 million for the 2024-2025 season according to CapFriendly, with 18 players who have played a regular role with the team, including Brandon Hagel whose eight-year contract extension at $6.5 million per season begins next year (he earned $1.5 million until now).

Without Stamkos, Duclair and Dumba, as well as Mitchell Chaffee, Austin Watson, and Tyler Motte who will also be free, here’s what the Lightning roster looks like right now:

Attackers

Brandon Hagel – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov
Vacancy – Anthony Cirelli – Vacancy
Michael Eyssimont – Nick Paul – Tanner Jeannot
Vacancy – Luke Glendening – Vacancy

Defenders

Victor Hedman – Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev – Darren Raddysh
Emil Lilleberg – Maxwell Crozier/Nick Perbix

Guardians

Andrei Vasilevsky
Jonas Johansson/Matt Tomkins

One of the worst banks of choice and hope


Ethan Gauthier is one of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s brightest prospects.

Archive photo, AFP

Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois never hesitated to pay to obtain players he believed capable of bringing a dimension that could help the team win in the playoffs, Barclay Goodrow, Tanner Jeannot and company. And no one will ever be able to take away the two Stanley Cup rings he earned. However, Tampa Bay will start to pay the price.

The team has no picks in the first four rounds of the upcoming draft and is also without its 2025 first-round pick, traded in the Tanner Jeannot trade.

This one, moreover, will hurt in the long term. The Lightning had given up to the Preds Cal Foote and picks of 1D (2025), 2e (2024) and 3e4e and 5e round in 2023 for Jeannot whose impact has never been felt in Tampa Bay.

Because of these numerous transactions, but also, it must be admitted, their many successes over the years have meant that they have often been drafted late in the first round, the Lightning find themselves with a bank of prospects which is not the most garnished. Isaac Howard and Ethan Gauthier are their two most interesting prospects.

The organization’s best prospects
  • Isaac Howard (Left Winger, 1D round in 2022)
  • Ethan Gauthier (Right Winger, 2e round in 2023)
  • Dylan Duke (Left Winger, 4e round in 2021)
  • Hugo Alnefelt (Goalkeeper, 3e round in 2019)
  • Gage Goncalves (Center, 2e round in 2020)
The team’s bank of choice*
  • 2024:5e round, 6e round, three choices of 7e round
  • 2025:2e round, 3e round, two choices of 4e round, 5e round, 6e round, four choices of 7e round
  • 2026:1D round, 2e round, 3e round, 4e round, 5e round, 6e round, 7e round

* Source: CapFriendly

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