For everyone who doesn’t care that much about prospect signings, Steve Stamkos has officially signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The deal, worth $37.5 million over 5 years, will cost the organization $7.5 million per season.
Although the cap hit is manageable for a player of Stamkos’ skill and potential, it wasn’t the deal the Lightning was holding out for. By agreeing to this contract, Stamkos will be an unrestricted free agent at age 26 and is likely to garner an exorbitant contract from a bigger market team. Even though a longer contract wouldn’t guarantee Stamkos remained in Tampa Bay for his whole career, there is now a defined window of opportunity for the team to capture another Stanley Cup.
Hopefully, this will also put to bed any Stamkos trade rumors.
On the Flyers’ end, the previously rumored contract with AHL goaltender Jason Bacashihua was announced today. Bacashihua, a veteran AHL goaltender, has been signed to a one year, $525k contract. Bacashihua last played in the NHL in 2007, where he posted a 3.16 goals-against average and a 0.896 save percentage with the St. Louis Blues. Where he fits in the organization remains to be seen.
Combine this news, the signings from yesterday, and a report from CSNPhilly that the Flyers will have to carry $1.4 million against the salary cap for bonuses earned last season and the Flyers have already handcuffed themselves for next season.
Due to the recent developments,
- There can be no new signings before training camp unless a current player is traded. Even if highly regarded prospect Sean Couturier impressed at camp, he can’t be signed.
- If a player from another organization is put on waivers during the season, the Flyers will not be eligible for claiming that player (again, unless a current contract is traded). Although goaltender Michael Leighton’s signing last season has not panned out well at all, picking him up from Carolina off re-entry waivers in 2009 saved that team from mediocrity.
- If Brayden Schenn makes the team and Ian Laperriere is placed on LTIR, the Flyers will have just over $1.34 million to sign a 13th forward. They can squeeze one Phantom on the roster while leaving room for another to be called up in the event of injury, but depending on who makes the cut, some players will inevitably be restricted due to their cap hits. In other words, if Matt Read ($900K) made the roster, there would be no room for Erik Gustafsson ($900K).
If there’s anything to take from this, it’s that a minor trade or two may happen in the next month to gain back some breathing room. Its possible Sergei Bobrovsky could get traded, but I suspect that due to the Flyers’ current situation and the fact that most teams have already shored up their goaltending, he wouldn’t garner a worthwhile draft pick now. If Paul Holmgren played his cards right, he could trade Bob during the season when injuries have taken their toll on other organizations and take advantage then.
As far as final roster spots go, Tom Sestito, Zac Rinaldo, Eric Wellwood and Kalinski have the best opportunities to make the team under this current scenario due to their contract sizes. Defensemen Oliver Lauridsen and Tyler Hostetter could also benefit from the situation.
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