The 23-year old has been pegged as a key piece of the Tampa Bay Lightning's future and will be relied upon for plenty of offense this season. My initial projections for the dynamic winger were in the 70-point range and there is some definite upside to his game that could possibly exceed those numbers.
The Lightning will open up their regular season schedule on Thursday night, home to the Detroit Red Wings and they will have a full compliment of players on the opening night roster, thanks to this signing.
|Steven Stamkos||8.500||Jason Garrison||4.600||Ben Bishop||5.950|
|Ryan Callahan||5.800||Anton Stralman||4.500||Andrei Vasilevskiy||0.925|
|Valtteri Filppula||5.000||Victor Hedman||4.000|
|Nikita Kucherov||4.767||Braydon Coburn||3.700|
|Alex Killorn||4.450||Andrej Sustr||1.450|
|Ondrej Palat||3.333||Slater Koekkoek||0.894|
|Tyler Johnson||3.333||Nikita Nesterov||0.725|
After all of the cuts and waiver placements in the last couple of days, the roster above appears to be what the Lightning will be going with to start. I have it as a 22-man roster with about $1.4 million in cap space, give or take a little bit of extra math. It's a pretty good looking team, but it doesn't have a great deal of flexibility for the trade deadline, if needed... well, until they are able to move Ben Bishop out of town.
You can hear the sigh of relief from all the way down under, as Brian gambled big on this restricted free agent as well, taking him with his 2nd round pick, 34th overall. There was no slipping for the big RFA's this year, everyone seemed fairly confident that they would get their new deals. Now there are only a few more to go and things might not be nearly as rosy.