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Tampa Bay: Back-to-Back Cup Winners


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Anyone surprised, especially with a $100M roster?

https://edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/nhl/cult-of-hockey/lightning-a-masterpiece-of-roster-construction-and-salary-cap-management-but-they-cant-hold-on-to-everybody

Needs to be said there is a large, smelly elephant in that particular room. That the Bolts were able to power up their playoff roster with likely Conn Smythe Trophy winner Nikita Kucherov after writing off his entire regular season cap hit — a substantial $9.5 million — to Long Term Injured Reserve ranged from clever cap circumvention to old-fashioned cheating, depending on one’s point of view.

Let’s settle here on “gaming the system”. Kucherov did have a legitimate injury stemming from last season’s successful playoff run here in the Edmonton Bubble, but the timing of both his surgery and his subsequent convalescence “just happened” to cover the entire duration of the regular season, during which time the Bolts employed a cap-ceiling team even in his absence. Come playoff time, with the cap no longer in force, the Bolts were free to activate Kucherov, who was a fair ways over 100% by the time he hit the ice in Game 1 of the playoffs. He’s been lighting it up ever since.

It’s dicey, but it’s legal. At least it is until the NHL does something to fix a loophole wide enough to drive an 18-wheeler through. Not the first time a team has taken advantage of it — Patrick Kane and the 2015 Blackhawks come to mind — but Kane only missed a quarter of the season. This episode is unique in that the player in question had an official cap hit of $0 for the entire season with a subsequent post-season Return On Investment that is, effectively, infinite.

So too is it legal to take on existing LTIR contracts as Tampa did with Marian Gaborik and Anders Nilsson in an attempt to maximize available cap. The complex machinations which ensued are beyond the scope of this post, but here for the interested reader.

The net result was that the Bolts were able to endure a $6 million raise to their superstar goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, along with significant boosts on the order of $4 and $2 million respectively to emerging young defencemen Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak on bridge contracts, without being forced to unload key pieces from elsewhere on the roster as many had gleefully anticipated last summer. A tidy piece of work by BriseBois and company.

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Wanted Montreal to win but this was expected. The cap stuff was a bit questionable but they're clearly the class of the league the past few years. Hard to be upset, they're just insanely good top to bottom. May have the best roster of skaters in the league AND the best clear best goalie in the league the past 2 years. Just crazy. And that roster is largely built from drafting/developing players. Impressive run, hopefully we can help put an end to it next year. Glad we aren't permanently in a division with them though. 

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35 minutes ago, t96 said:

Wanted Montreal to win but this was expected. The cap stuff was a bit questionable but they're clearly the class of the league the past few years. Hard to be upset, they're just insanely good top to bottom. May have the best roster of skaters in the league AND the best clear best goalie in the league the past 2 years. Just crazy. And that roster is largely built from drafting/developing players. Impressive run, hopefully we can help put an end to it next year. Glad we aren't permanently in a division with them though. 

They are screwed next year current talent-wise, with their cap space + the expansion draft. 

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20 hours ago, Harbingers said:

They are screwed next year current talent-wise, with their cap space + the expansion draft. 

I disagree. They'll be worse than they've been the last 2 years but they won't be "screwed" by any means. They'll lose some forward and defensive depth, but it'll still be solid and they'll surely return with the same core pieces and that's more than enough for them to continue to compete. I don't think they'll be clear favorites like they have been the last several years, but they'll be the favorites to come out of the Atlantic and should still be able to win a playoff series or two and maybe go even further.

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26 minutes ago, t96 said:

I disagree. They'll be worse than they've been the last 2 years but they won't be "screwed" by any means. They'll lose some forward and defensive depth, but it'll still be solid and they'll surely return with the same core pieces and that's more than enough for them to continue to compete. I don't think they'll be clear favorites like they have been the last several years, but they'll be the favorites to come out of the Atlantic and should still be able to win a playoff series or two and maybe go even further.

They have 17 people on their roster with and are the only team over cap. By 4 million they will have to expose a big name player which will help them clear cap space but they’ll be stating half a dozen rookies next year and still have to get rid of one more of their top players. I didn’t say they’d be bad. But their roster tricks are about to come bite them in the ass. 

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