It’s less than 24 hours old but early Sunday morning the NHL and NHLPA agreed in principle to a new CBA. Seriously, all that remains is putting this on paper and getting it ratified (which is expected to happen either Tuesday or Wednesday this week). After that it won’t be long before we see our favorite players take the Tampa Bay Times Forum ice.
With that being said, how did the lockout affect the Tampa Bay Lightning?
To begin, the Lightning were very busy prior to the lockout as GM Steve Yzerman addressed the teams most pressing needs. Yzerman first signed former Nashville Predators backup goaltender Anders Lindback to a two-year deal, with the hope he can at some point become the No. 1 goalie the Bolts so desperately need. The team also signed Matt Carle and Sami Salo to help a defense that struggled for much of last season, especially along the blue-line. Offensively, the team signed Benoit Pouliot from the Boston Bruins to provide some more balanced scoring.
Another important thing to note is that the Lightning have quite a few players making waves with the AHL‘s Syracuse Crunch. These players include forwards Cory Conacher and Brett Connolly, along with defenseman Keith Aulie, all of whom are expected to make the Bolts’ roster this season. Another forward that expected to make the Lightning roster was J.T. Brown. Unfortunately for both parties however, Brown broke his collarbone during a late December AHL game and is expected to miss between six and eight weeks. (Source: Tampa Bay Times)
Where does all of this leave the Lightning financially?
Well, we know that this season’s cap will remain at $70.2 million before going down to $64.3 million for 2013-14′. Now, after spending some time trying to analyze the Lightning’s salary cap on Capgeek, I can say that even with all their signings they’ll be just fine. Actually, the new buyout rules (which I’ll discuss more in depth at a later time) could end up helping them.
As for contracts, the new rules aren’t retroactive so the Lightning’s signing of Vincent Lecavalier is fine. Other than that, all contracts the team signed were for less than seven years so they shouldn’t have any problems.
All in all, it seems like the lockout really only cost the Lightning one forward (though he was expected to make the roster), some games and (maybe) a few fans. Regardless of that, it’s Tampa’s 20th anniversary season and that’s certainly something to celebrate. Heck, to pump everyone up, listen to this.