With the 2011-12 Tampa Bay Lightning season complete, it’s time to focus on the upcoming campaign as the Bolts brass begins to build the team and solidify the roster as we race towards the official start of the NHL’s Free Agency period on July 1.
Tampa Bay will certainly look to improve the goaltending and defense first, while adding to a solid nucleus of forwards.
Here is a thumbnail look at the Lightning roster today.
For a full look at the team depth chart, click here.
Click on the players name for full salary capsule.
Ten forwards under contract: Vincent Lecavalier ($7,727,273), Steven Stamkos ($7,500,000), Martin St. Louis ($5,625,000), Ryan Malone ($4,500,000), Teddy Purcell ($2,362,500), Brett Connolly ($1,633,333), JT Brown ($1,350,000), Nate Thompson ($900,000), Dana Tyrell ($600,000) and Tom Pyatt ($600,000). Buyout Vaclav Prospal ($1.166.667)
Defensemen RFA’s: (Restricted Free Agent-Players who are no longer considered ”entry-level” but do not qualify as unrestricted free agents become restricted free agents when their contracts expire): Brian Lee, Keith Aulie and Brendan Mikkelson.
One goalie under contract: Mathieu Garon ($1,300,000)
Salary committed for 2012-13: $48.095 million
2012-13 Salary Cap: $64,300,000
For the full Lightning salary chart, click here.
General Manager, Steve Yzerman will be looking for a number one goalie this summer and he is armed with two first -round draft choices in the June draft and up to four second round picks. After all, the Bolts had the worst goals-against average (3.34) and save percentage (.889) in the NHL for the second straight season. Vancouver’s Cory Schneider is most often mentioned as the top candidate, but he is a future RFA and the Bolts could only acquire him through a trade involving a top Lightning prospect. Also, Vancouver may decide to let Roberto Luongo and his huge contract go before trading Scnneider. There are many other interesting options out there including trading for the Kings Jonathan Bernier, but the goalie free agent market is weak. Yzerman’s only real option is to trade for a young number one.
Here is a list of free agent goalies:
UFA Goalies: Martin Brodeur-New Jersey, Antero Niittymaki-San Jose, Tomas Vokoun-Washington, Jonas Gustavsson-Toronto, Johan Hedberg-New Jersey, Scott Clemmensen-Florida, Alex Auld-Ottawa, Martin Biron-New York Rangers, Josh Harding-Minnesota, Al Montoya-New York Islanders, Ray Emery-Chicago, Curtis Sanford-Columbus, Dwayne Roloson-Tampa Bay and Sebastien Caron-Tampa Bay.
For a complete list of goalie UFA’s, click here.
RFA Goalies: Carey Price-Montreal, Tukka Rask-Boston, Ondrej Pavelec-Winnipeg, Cory Schneider-Vancouver, Anders Lindback-Nashville, Devan Dubnyk-Edmonton, Leland Irving-Calgary, Ben Scrivens-Toronto, Richard Bachman-Dallas, Justin Peters-Carolina, Cedrick Desjardins-Colorado and Jaroslav Janus-Tampa Bay.
For a complete list of goalie RFA’s, click here.
Photographs courtesy of Linda Hamilton.
Salary numbers courtesy of capgeek.com
About the Author: WB Philp is a published hockey writer who has a built in disdain for Barry Melrose. He covered the Detroit sports teams for many years until he came to his senses and moved to the Sunshine State. He is a true puckhead on a mission from God (Gordie Howe) to make hockey relevant in the south. He lives in Hockey Bay USA and covers the Lightning full time. Did I mention he hates Barry Melrose?