Cap-Clearing Move Coming For Lightning After McDonagh Acquisition

The Tampa Bay Lightning have brought back Ryan McDonagh to bolster their defense after a quick first-round exit this season. According to general manager Julien BriseBois, the Lightning still have enough cap space to sign their captain Steven Stamkos.

I doubt that unless there is a move. After a great playoffs and season by Stamkos, he proved to be too valuable to just let walk in free agency, regardless of his age. The Lightning have around $5 million in cap space to spare for Stamkos. This also implies that he is going to take a big discount and there will be two open roster spots on the team just to make anything work.

Though Stamkos has spent his entire career in Tampa Bay, he's also won the Stanley Cup twice. Players will always have an incentive to win every year, but not for massive discounts all the time.

For the seventh time in the past eight seasons, Stamkos finished above a point-per-game, scoring 40 goals and 81 points in 79 games. At this rate of production at 34 years old, he should still have at least three more good years left in him. He warrants much more than $5 million, and that's if the team doesn't decide to add another forward to the roster as an option.

This all but confirms that players like Anthony Duclair and Matt Dumba won't be back as free agents, but also that Tanner Jeannot seems like the perfect candidate to be moved to free up the necessary cap space to keep Stamkos. That trade hasn't worked out in the slightest between lack of production the Lightning were hoping for and injuries problems.

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