After making it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014-15, the Tampa Bay Lightning fell one game short of that plateau this season, losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in game seven of the Eastern Conference Final.
Sure, the Florida Panthers took the regular season crown in the Atlantic, but by virtue of their back-to-back deep playoff runs, the Bolts still have to be considered the top dog in the division.
Tampa Bay was able to sign potential prize of the free-agent market, Steven Stamkos to a new max eight-year deal. In addition to that monster move, GM Steve Yzerman was able to extend defenseman Victor Hedman (eight years) and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (three years). The club also came to terms with forward Alex Killorn for seven more years.
Other than taking care of their own, the Lightning have been pretty quiet, with the rest of the off-season moves being made with an eye towards the Syracuse Crunch. Yzerman still needs to sign RFAs Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Nikita Nesterov to new deals.
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond signs one-year, $575K contract
Michael Bournival signs one-year, $575K contract
Gabriel Dumont signs one-year, $575K contract
Jeremy Morin signs one-year, $575K contract
Mike Halmo signs one-year, $575K contract
Cory Conacher signs one-year, $575K contract
Lightning Free Agents
Group 2 FAs: Yanni Gourde,
Kristers Gudlevskis (re-signed), Alex Killorn (re-signed), Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Nikita Nesterov, Tanner Richard (re-signed), Joel Vermin (re-signed)
Group 3 UFAs: Mike Angelidis,
Mike Blunden (signed: OTT), Dmitry Korobov, Mattias Ohlund, Jeff Tambellini
Group 6 UFAs:
Jonathan Marchessault (signed: FLA), Philippe Paradis (signed: NYI), Luke Witkowski (re-signed)
UFAs: David Broll
2016 Draft Class
Round 1 (27) F Brett Howden (Moose Jaw Warriors)
Round 2 (37) D Libor Hajek (Saskatoon Blades)
Round 2 (44) F Boris Katchouk (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)
Round 2 (58) F Taylor Raddysh (Erie Otters)
Round 3 (88) G Connor Ingram (Flint Firebirds)
Round 4 (118) F Ross Colton (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders)
Round 5 (148) F Christopher Paquette (Niagara IceDogs)
Round 6 (178) D Oleg Sosunov (Yaroslavl Jrs)
Round 7 (206) F Otto Somppi(Halifax Mooseheads)
Round 7 (206) F Ryan Lohin (Waterloo Black Hawks)
Salary Cap Space: $8,529,167 (courtesy of General Fanager)