Dan Girardi

Tampa Bay Lightning: Taking An In-Depth Look At Dan Girardi

Featured Image Photo Credit – Dinur Blum

The last Tampa Bay Lightning player evaluation that I did was on Braydon Coburn, so I’ve decided to stick with the blue-line here. This player is likely on his way out, though it is still an unknown at this point. The question is, should they? I will evaluate his skills and determine if it is worth the money to bring him back. That player is Dan Girardi.  

The Basics

Last season, Girardi played 62 total games, while in a rotation in and out of the lineup as a healthy scratch. Despite that, he scored 4 goals and assisted on 12 more, for a total of 16 points. He averaged 17:48 time on ice, due to the fact that he tended to play on the first defensive pair with Victor Hedman, with no special teams time. He started 49% of his shifts in the offensive zone, and racked up a 49.9 Corsi-For%, his best CF% in 10 years (the 2008-09 season). Girardi had a takeaway to giveaway ratio of 8 to 25, a -17 differential. It’s also a career low total in takeaways and giveaways. Girardi recorded a 100.7 PDO, which means he’s only a little bit lucky, relative to the average of 100 PDO.  With Girardi on the ice this season, the Lightning had an expected goals for of 45.7 and an expected goals against of 43.7, which is a +2 differential, his first career plus expected +/- since it was first calculated in the 2014-15 season. 

Advanced Analytics

Girardi wasn’t good or bad in almost all of his stats except the takeaway-giveaway ratio. However, he has never really been good in that metric in his career. He did improve in a few areas compared to prior seasons, but overall on the surface, he hasn’t been that good. If we look into the spider graphs, maybe they can hint at something that he is good at.

visual created by Kyle Pereira, data from CJ Turtoro

Girardi (red) is last in his shot contributions, which ultimately means he doesn’t generate any sort of offense from his shots (ShotContr60, ShotAssists60), but he does shoot the puck more than Jan Rutta (Shots60). He ranks dead last in all transition metrics, which looks at his success breaking out of the defensive zone (PossExit60, PossExit%) and breaking into the offensive zone (PossEntry60, PossEntry%). He is the best of the three defensemen shown on the graph for breaking up the opposition’s entry attempts (Breakups60), and has better defensive numbers than offensive, but still ranks last in allowing the opposition a high volume of entries in a 60 minute span (PossEntryAllw60) and second in how many entries he allows compared to the total number of entries he has to defend against (PossEntryAllw%).

Where I am intrigued the most is in his seemingly awful transition game, so let’s first look into his performance on the breakout by taking a look at CJ Turtoro’s Exit per 60 minute visual. 

visual created by CJ Turtoro, data from Corey Sznajder

Girardi ranks dead last among all other Lightning defenders (minus Rutta) in this metric. He only ever passes the puck up and out of the defensive zone to a teammate, and never skates it out. He relies very heavily on his dumps and clears when leaving the defensive zone which allows for the opponents to quickly regain the puck in the neutral zone and get another entry, hence his high PossEntryAllw60 metric on the spider graph. He ices it less than Coburn does, but still more than all other defenders, which isn’t bad, but still needs to be taken down a little bit. Girardi has a high amount of fails, and that’s where he really needs to turn it down. While he didn’t turn the puck over a whole lot last season, he had around the same amount of fails as Victor Hedman and Mikhail Sergachev, who are pace pushers and take risks moving up ice, which sometimes leads to fails. But in Girardi’s case, he doesn’t push the pace at all, and he’s just seemingly bad at breaking out. This isn’t a good look for Girardi.

Now let’s look at Girardi’s metric of entering the offensive zone using CJ Turtoro’s Entries per 60 minute visual. 

visual created by CJ Turtoro, data from Corey Sznajder

Yet again, Girardi ranks dead last in entering the zone, but this time there’s a better reason why. While he had a tough workload exiting the zone (lots of attempts), he had the smallest workload breaking into the offensive zone, as he never really made an attempt to do so consistently. For controlled entries, he passes to a teammate more than he skates it in himself, though it is pretty close. He constantly dumps it in however, if he even tries entering at all. The best part about the whole thing though? He very rarely fails in getting the puck in, when he tries doing so, and thus is fairly effective entering the offensive zone. Now, if we go back to the spider graph, we will remember that his best attributes were in his defensive zone play. 

Break-Ups versus Possession Exits

Let’s now take a look at Sean Tierney’s visual, Controlling the blue line. 

visual created by Sean Tierney, data from Corey Sznajder

Girardi, the left-most defenseman, had a high breakup%, about even with both Ryan McDonagh and Anton Stralman. However, as we saw before, he was not good at breaking out of the defensive end, and thus had the lowest, by a wide margin, Possession Exit%. He’s just an okay defenseman, because he breaks up the oppositions attack, but then can’t break out of the defensive zone, doesn’t really try to break into the offensive zone, and does little to make a difference offensively. 

In Conclusion 

Dan Girardi is just okay, as I touched on earlier. I feel as though the Lightning gave him too much ice time, and that he should not have been deployed more often than both Sergachev and Coburn. To me, Girardi is a solid 7th defenseman, who can slot into any lineup that needs him when an injury occurs. You know exactly what you’re going to get with Coburn due to his very consistent production, but he isn’t your guy if you already struggle breaking out or pushing offense. I don’t see the point in re-signing Dan Girardi with better options on the roster, and cheaper options in the trade market and within the Lightning’s farm system. I can see Girardi going to Long Island to play for Barry Trotz and the New York Islanders. 

All stats via Hockey-reference

Spider graphs created by Kyle Pereira, data gathered by CJ Turtoro

Controlling the Blue-line visual from Sean Tierney

Featured Image Photo Credit – Dinur Blum

Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning: Awful Trades and A Slow Off-Season

Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois has not impressed anyone yet. Since taking over a star-studded team built by former GM Steve Yzerman, BriseBois decided not to add at the trade deadline.

 

His team, regardless of that, had an historic season. Or should I say, Yzerman’s team did, because BriseBois only added Jan Rutta, who played 14 games in blue and white. He also called up Cameron Gaunce, who stepped in for two games.

Then, with forward Brayden Point waiting for a contract as a Restricted Free Agent, BriseBois tests everyone’s patience by first extending Rutta, and then trading a bright, young, and talented goaltending prospect in Connor Ingram for a bucket of pucks. I mean a seventh round pick, in a draft three years from now, ultimately has the same value as a bucket of pucks. But at least you can get the pucks immediately and not wait three years for them. You’re welcome Nashville.

 

Why Is The Ingram Trade Bad?

First off, Ingram is a prospect, and the best in the Lightning system for his position. That alone should be reason enough for him to warrant a hell of a lot more than a seventh round pick in 2021. But there’s a lot more than meets the eye, so a deeper dive should do the trick.

 

Who Is Connor Ingram?

Ingram is a 22 year old goalie, who was drafted in the third round (88th overall) in 2016, where he was ranked as a top-10 goalie (and the eighth off the board).

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After being drafted, he returned to the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League, where he had played for the previous two seasons. In 45 games, he posted a 2.44 goals against average (GAA) and a .927 save percentage (SV%). Then, in six postseason games, he was magnificent, with a 2.18 GAA and .946 SV%.

The following season, he began with the Lightning’s ECHL affiliate at the time, the Adirondack Thunder, where he quickly proved he was too good to be there. With a 1.30 GAA and .960 SV% in three games, he was called up to the Lightning’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch. There, he stepped into a big role, starting 35 games and posting a 2.33 GAA and .914 SV%.

Ingram started this season once again with Syracuse. But then, out of the blue, his playing time was rolled back. Despite being in the AHL all-star game this past season for his stellar season with the Crunch, he was sent to the new ECHL affiliate, the Orlando Solar Bears, after 22 games.

In those said 22 games, Ingram had a solid 2.26 GAA and .922 SV%. He was beginning to show why he was worthy of being a third-round selection (about where top goalies tend to get selected). That’s when things fell apart. According to personal sources, there was a dispute between Ingram and Lightning management, though it is unclear what exactly the disputes were about at this time. He did not play well in the 13 regular season ECHL games that followed (2.81 GAA, .914 SV%), but did play up to expectations in the playoffs (10 games, 1.94 GAA, .935 SV%), before ultimately falling short and getting knocked out of the playoffs.

 

In Conclusion

His frustrations were clear in his struggles at a low-level of hockey, and he reportedly requested a trade when he initially was sent down to the ECHL.

Just like with the Jonathan Drouin situation however, Ingram went back to his true on-ice self in the playoffs, and the problems seemingly, were no longer problems anymore. But at least the Lightning were able to snag Mikhail Sergachev for Drouin. Granted, Drouin had a lot more value than Ingram does, but the Lightning could have easily gotten more. At least get a third round pick back for him, or even a B-level prospect. But instead, in essence, a bucket of pucks that will get delivered in 2021.

 

All stats via Elite Prospects

Featured Image Photo Credit: Nikos Michals

Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning: Potential Line-Up Additions

The Tampa Bay Lightning have a long and, quite simply, brutal off-season ahead of them. Who will be gone, and who will be brought in?

 

Emotionally, Tampa Bay Lightning fans have gone into phases of disappointment, finger-pointing and finally, disbelief after a 62-win regular season and zero post-season victories. Then add to that on the surface of the whole off-season, the expected cap crunch. It’s obviously a very stressful time of the year for the Lightning faithful. 

 

What’s The Plan?

I have already written a piece on each phase of the offseason. I started by covering potential draft options for the Lightning, the re-sign phase, and trades/signings during the free agent period. I also did a piece on Lightning head coach Jon Cooper.

But for this article, I decided to change it up. I went to several different people and asked them what players would make sense for the Lightning to trade for or sign during the free agent period. Keep in mind, I’m not mocking any trades, looking at salary caps, or saying these things should happen. These are simple suggestions that could be very intriguing coming from not just me, but several hockey fans, as well as a few other writers on the Puck77 site.

 

Justin Williams, Carolina Hurricanes

The Lightning may be looking for a change of leadership after the embarrassment of a first-round exit. This does NOT mean that the person who suggested this wants Lightning forward Steven Stamkos out by any means, but Williams is a veteran leader and a captain of a team who has more postseason wins in the second round then the Lightning had this entire postseason.

Although he is 37-years-old, Williams is coming off a 53-point season with a young Carolina Hurricanes team, and he currently sits at five points in 10 post-season games. A clutch playoff performer and incredible locker room leader, Williams would be a great addition, although extremely unlikely.

 

Ryan Reaves, Vegas Golden Knights

The biggest element to playoff hockey is its intensity. It’s easy to say physicality in the playoffs may be one of the most compelling elements to success, as the Lightning were dominated in the physical aspect of the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. When a guy like “Muffin Man” Ryan Reaves is on the ice, I don’t think many people can out-hit you.

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Although not much of a producer (he’s never had a season with over 20 points), Reaves adds something to a teams game that is often overlooked. He is praised as a great teammate and locker room presence, and is a cheap addition to the bottom-six.  Something that could definitely happen, especially if Adam Erne does not re-sign with Tampa this off-season.

 

Brian Boyle, Nashville Predators

I’m not kidding you when I say Brian Boyle was the most suggested add for the Lightning when I asked around. It makes sense too, as Boyle may not be too expensive and has offensive upside, especially if paired with guys like J.T. Miller and Mathieu Joseph. 

A member of the Lightning previously (2014-17), he knows Cooper’s system and he has played with some of the guys on the team in the past, like Alex Killorn and Tyler Johnson. With his prior stint on the Lightning, his offensive upside and his physical presence, this is a move that is certainly realistic and something the Lightning should pursue.

 

Connor Brown, Toronto Maple Leafs

This is another suggestion that intrigues me. Connor Brown is young (25) and often underused by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Not to mention, the salary situation that the Leafs are in could make Brown expendable.

He has decent offensive upside for a bottom-nine role (three consecutive seasons with 27+ points, including a 20-goal, 36-point campaign in 2016-17). He’s also a physical presence on the ice, and has far more takeaways (120) than giveaways (68) in his career. He would be another great fit for the Lightning, and realistic based on Toronto’s situation. Again, highly unlikely, but still something to keep an eye on.

 

Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets

The first defenseman that was suggested, Jacob Trouba is a solid blueliner, and has been for a few years with the Winnipeg Jets. He is slated to be a free agent after recording 50 points this past season. As a defenseman that’s super impressive.

Add him to the list of Lightning defenders Victor Hedman, Mikhail Sergachev and Ryan McDonagh as high-end offensive blueliners for the Lightning, and you have one incredible d-core. Add in Erik Cernak as a solid transitional and defensively responsible blueliner, and one of Braydon Coburn, Jan Rutta and Dan Girardi as a stay-at-home type, and you have yourself arguably the deepest and most talented defense in the entire NHL.

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This is just a pipe dream however, as the cap situation may be too much to work around, and Trouba could be looking for top-two money and minutes if he leaves the Jets. Something he most likely won’t get with Tampa.

 

Jordie Benn, Montreal Canadians

Jordie Benn has been a solid bottom-pair defenseman basically his entire career, and would be a great fit in the Lightning organization. If Tampa lets Coburn and Girardi walk away this offseason, Benn would be a nice addition.

He blocks a ton of shots (128 this season), and plays a physical brand of hockey. He does give the puck up often, which was the downfall for Tampa this season, but again, his physicality and blocking is important and deserves a look.

 

Patrick Nemeth, Dallas Stars

Not as offensive as Benn (10 points to Benn’s 20 this season), Patrik Nemeth does block more shots (131 blocks) and has more hits. He also turns the puck over less, although Benn does have more takeaways. What this tells me is Nemeth is purely a stay-at-home, shot blocking, physically inclined defenseman, who tries to play it safe with the puck rather than drive the offense. If he’s paired with either Hedman or Sergachev, he could be a solid addition. Again, however, it’s not very likely, but something to look for.

 

Erik Karlsson, San Jose Sharks

Erik Karlsson was considered the best of the best on the blue line in the National Hockey League and is still considered a premier defenseman. However, an injury ravaged season, as well as a new system and new players to learn to play with and gain chemistry with, caused the elite Swedish blueliner to take a step back.

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This opens the eyes of several NHL franchises as he could take a cheaper deal than what he would have had he been available last off-season. This is still a longshot for the Lightning to reel in, as they have their own agenda and free agents (Brayden Point) to deal with, making this a very difficult signing. 

 

Matt Duchene, Columbus Blue Jackets

Matt Duchene has been tearing it apart the playoffs. He ripped up the Lightning in round one, and continued his strong play into round two against the Boston Bruins. He is also a leader on and off the ice, and if he does come to Tampa Bay, he could take them to that next step in the playoffs, as he appears to be clutch in the big moments.

Again, a long shot, but it would be an incredible acquisition if they traded a few players on semi-hefty deals (Killorn, Johnson, Palat) and bought out one big contract (Ryan Callahan) to free up space for both Duchene and upcoming restricted free agent Point. I don’t expect it to happen at all, but what a piece to bring in.

 

Ryan Dzingal, Columbus Blue Jackets

Now this is something that could happen.

Dzingel has taken steps to become a picture-perfect middle-six forward, and he may not cost much more than $4.5M on a contract. If they move Palat, Johnson or Killorn and buyout Callahan, they could re-sign Point and bring in Dzingel. He could play a role similar to that of Miller, fluctuating between the first, second, and third lines, and be able to produce in all of those spots. Could strengthen an already solid power play unit.

 

Jake Gardiner, Toronto Maple Leafs

This is realistic in a sense that he will likely be available. He is also a leader on and off the ice, and defense is a growing need in Tampa with the likes of Anton Stralman, Girardi and Coburn likely out-of-town come the summer.

But the Lightning already have a punishing top-four defense, with Hedman, McDonagh, Sergachev and Cernak there. Adding Gardiner isn’t necessary, but it would add incredible depth for the Bolts on the backend. It is highly unlikely, however.

 

Warren Foegele, Carolina Hurricanes

This was an interesting suggestion. The recently turned 23-year-old Foegele is coming of his first season of NHL play. In 77 games, he only racked up 15 points (10 goals, five assists), but his possession statistics is where he really showed his value.

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He had a 53.8 Corsi For %, which is outstanding, and a positive takeaway to giveaway ratio of 37-31. But he has been incredible in the playoffs, with 8 points in 10 games and helping pave the way for the Hurricanes success. He’s also racked up 21 hits in the postseason, showing he can play physical if need be.

He’s a bottom-six forward, with middle-to-top-six potential. Because of his potential and his current status as a bottom-six guy, he may not be too expensive either. With big contracts on the horizon, the Hurricanes wouldn’t be dumb enough to take a contract like Killorn’s one for one, so it’d have to be more appealing in some way. Maybe salary retainment or additional picks can do the trick, but who knows if the Hurricanes would send him packing, especially with how well he’s done in the postseason. So that makes a move to Tampa very unlikely for Foegele. But this is something I would love to happen, given his early career postseason success.

 

All stats via hockey-reference

Featured Image Photo Credit: Nikos Michals

Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning: Free Agency Frenzy

Now that the Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed everyone that they could, they have $250,000 of salary cap space remaining.

 

It would be best if the Tampa Bay Lightning had an extra forward and an extra defenceman, which they can’t possibly afford with the cap space they have. Based on last season, for the most part the Lightning had two extra forwards and one extra defenseman, which could cost around $3M to have. With that being said, trading must be done. So, who are some players the Lightning could, and maybe even should, trade this off-season?

 

Alex Killorn – $4.45M Cap Hit, 4 Years Remaining

Killorn has been a solid top-nine forward for several years with the Lightning. He’s also been one of the top playoff performers on the roster, making it harder for me to want the Lightning to trade him. With the salary cap rising, along with the fact he’d probably be a middle-six  forward on another team rather than a fourth liner for the Lightning next year. He does have a No Trade Clause (NTC), but he could agree to be moved.

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Not just that, but with the Seattle expansion draft right around the corner, and players with NTC’s and NMC’s (No Movement Clause), it’s enormously important to move him to protect someone who will be far more important than him. If there’s a team who could use some depth, as well as a solid veteran to be paired with their youngsters, I’d say the  Buffalo Sabres or the Vancouver Canucks would be a good landing spot for him. 

Tyler Johnson – $5M Cap Hit, 5 Years Remaining

There’s no doubt Johnson is an overpaid forward, but also his term is far too long. He also has a NTC, making it even more important for the Lightning to get him off the books. However, his new-found chemistry playing on the left wing with Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov could save him, while also giving the Lightning a deadly second line.

But the fact that he is automatically protected and is overpaid, he still should get moved to a team who needs more offense. With Johnson’s versatility, he can play on either wing or at center. The Arizona Coyotes would be a nice destination for Johnson.

Ondrej Palat – $5.3M Cap Hit, 3 Years Remaining

Probably the most attractive option for other teams, as he has the most skill. But he is still, at least in my opinion, another overpaid forward. He also has a NTC, surprise, surprise. Although I’m not completely on the “Trade Ondrej Palat” ship, but his performance in the playoffs, and just the general hate he receives from some Bolts fans, makes him another option. For Palat, I’d say a contender out west, who could use a top-six winger, could use Palat. The Colorado Avalanche for example, although they must save some cap space for Mikko Rantanen as well. 

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Mock Trades

Tampa Receives: Kevin Connauton (D), 2019 2nd round pick

Arizona Receives: Alex Killorn (F)

Connauton has a $1.375M cap hit through 2020 and could be a solid bottom pair defenseman, in a rotation alongside Jan Rutta and Brayden Coburn. Connauton would wind up having just one more year, and is not required to re-sign, unlike Killorn, who has a much longer term. This would make things easier for Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois next season when Andrei Vasilevskiy hits the books.

They would free up $3.075M in cap space, giving them $3.325M to work with, but with only 11 forwards on the roster. Another thing this trade does is give the Lightning a second round pick in this years National Hockey League entry draft, something they don’t currently have.

After this trade, I’d say that the Lightning would keep both of Palat and Johnson, as Palat would likely be moving around the top three lines, but mainly playing alongside Steven Stamkos on the first. Johnson seemingly found great chemistry with Point and Kucherov, which would likely make him a second liner for most of next season. Now to fill that extra forward spot, while also having at least one extra forward.

Who To Sign?

Boston Bruins depth forward Noel Acciari could be a very nice addition to fill in on either wing, playing mainly in the bottom-six forward group. He plays a very physical brand of hockey, something that the Lightning need more of. He’s not a very flashy forward, but he is responsible in his own end and generates energy. I’d say a one-year, $950K contract would be accurate for Acciari. That would leave the Lightning with $2.375M remaining for one more forward.

Riley Sheahan of the Florida Panthers is another attractive option for the Lightning’s depth. He would more than likely be rotating in with prospect Alex Barre-Boulet if he doesn’t work out as the Lightning would hope on sheltered minutes.

Sheahan is experienced, but not old and also brings a strong two-way game. Putting up nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points in 81 games this past season, he proves to be durable, and can play anywhere on the bottom-six forward group. Sheahan, Cedric Paquette, Barre-Boulet and Acciari could be in a rotation for who the scratched forward is, similar to last season with the Lightning defencemen. He, too, could sign a one year, $950K contract.

 

Here are the new-look rosters after all these moves are made, using Capfriendly’s Armchair GM tool.

All stats via Hockey-Reference

All Salary Cap/Roster Make-up’s via Capfriendly

Featured Image Photo Credit – Nikos Michals

Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning: Re-Sign Phase

The Tampa Bay Lightning offseason series has finally hit part 3 of 4, which marks the re-sign phase.

With the salary cap going up to $83M for next season, the Lightning would have roughly $11.75M for next season. In the Lightning exit interviews, Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois said “The reality is that there were going to be changes in the offseason anyway because of our cap situation. There will be some changes.” What does this mean? I’ll take a deep dive into that.

Upcoming unrestricted free agent forwards: None

Surprisingly enough, the Lightning have 0 unrestricted free agent forwards, which gives BriseBois a ton of room to work with. But there is something I can put here. Based on what BriseBois said about changes being imminent and there’s really no way around it, I have a feeling he has plans with Ryan Callahan. Maybe a buyout? Without re-signing anyone, a Callahan buyout would give the Lightning an additional $2.666M in cap space, raising the total to $13.01M. That being said, I feel like it’s worth it. There may also be some draft day trades to get a bit more wiggle room with Andrei Vasilevskiy hitting restricted free agency next season.

Upcoming restricted free agent forwards: Cedric Paquette, Adam Erne, Danick Martel, Brayden Point

Cedric Paquette: 13 goals, 4 assists (17 points), 45.7 corsi-for%, averaged 12 minutes time on ice, 80 games played

Paquette personified what a fourth line center should do, and he isn’t a very expensive guy to re-sign either. He made $1M last season, and I expect he’d make that again, for another two seasons.

Adam Erne: 7 goals, 13 assists (20 points), 48.2 CF%, averaged 10:33 TOI, 65 games played

Erne is a grinder type player, who has a physical edge and plays well in the defensive end, for the most part. But he was in a rotation with Ryan Callahan at times this season, showing that there wasn’t a whole lot of trust in his abilities. I say they let him walk, especially considering the American Hockey League guys in their system ready to make the jump (looking at you Alex Barre-Boulet).

Danick Martel: 0 goals, 2 assists (2 points), 45.5 CF%, averaged 10:11 TOI, 9 games played

Martel was a scratch all season long, basically, and I doubt he finds himself with the Lightning roster next season. If anything, he’ll sign with the Lightning and play with the Syracuse Crunch. But I think he’ll look for other options around the league.

Brayden Point: 41 goals, 51 assists (92 points), 51.9 CF%, averaged 18:55 TOI, 79 games played

Point had an incredible season, building up each and every year for point production, and has improved even further in all other aspects, including his defensive game. The way he has looked on both ends of the ice makes him appear like a future Selke finalist, and maybe even, down the road, a Selke winner. His importance to the team is unquestioned, and Julien BriseBois must re-sign him. Due to Nikita Kucherov making just $9.5M per season, and Steven Stamkos at $8.5M, I’d predict Point receives a 6-8 year deal, with a $9M average per season.

The re-signings that I have chalked up would amount to 10 million USDs. Add to that, the call-up of Barre-Boulet would take up another $795K now making the cap hit $10.795M. The space, initially at $13.01M, down to $2.215M. Now, moving on to defensemen.

Upcoming Unrestricted Free Agent Defensemen: Anton Stralman, Dan Girardi, Braydon Coburn, Jan Rutta

Anton Stralman: 2 goals, 15 assists (17 points), 47.4 CF%, averaged 20:31 TOI, 47 games played

Stralman was off and on with injuries all season long, and even missed the entire first round of this years playoffs. That, along with the fact that the Lightning are cap crunched, tells me that Stralman will be on the free agent market.

Dan Girardi: 4 goals, 12 assists (16 points), 49.9 CF%, averaged 17:48 TOI,  62 games played

Girardi played alongside of Victor Hedman quite often, and has proven to be a solid defenseman with the Lightning. However, he could ask for too much money than the Lightning can afford, and he will also be walking.

Braydon Coburn: 4 goals, 19 assists (23 points), 52.6 CF%, averaged 16:07 TOI, 74 games played

Surprisingly enough, Coburn was excellent in terms of possession analytics throughout the playoffs. He has also been fantastic in possession statistics through the regular season. He was part of a rotation that saw him be a healthy scratch fairly often, which could bump his asking price down. Him having the most points among expiring defensemen is also a plus, and he should be re-signed. Maybe 1 year, $1M.

Jan Rutta: 2 goals, 6 assists (8 points), 51.3 CF%, averaged 15:36 TOI, 37 games played

Rutta earned the trust of the coaching staff, similar to that of Erik Cernak, in that he was called up for a temporary hole to fill from injuries and wound up earning consistent playing time. Even though I was not a fan of his performance in the playoffs, the Lightning need a bottom pair d-man, and unlike with their forwards, they don’t have guys down in the AHL that can come up and fill that hole. I’d say 1 year, $M1, just like Coburn.

 

There are no restricted free agent defenseman to come up, and there also isn’t an expiring goalie this offseason either. With all the re-signs in place, as well as the call-up of Alex Barre-Boulet, here are my projected Lightning lines for the 2019-20 NHL season, using capfriendly’s armchair GM tool.

 

all stats via hockey-reference

Cap information from capfriendly

Featured Image Credit: Justin Miner