NHL Rumors: On the Tampa Bay Lightning
Stepan's agent comments on the Senators trade rumors. Even with the Lightning to gain cap space by LTIRing Kucherov, they'll keep looking to move salary.

On the Tampa Bay Lightning …

Bryan Burns: Lightning GM Steve Yzerman on free agency: “Unless I can really generate some cap space, I’m not in a position right now to do anything.”

Joe Smith: Yzerman on Nikita Kucherov: “I’m confident at some point we’ll be able to reach an agreement.”

Joe Smith: Andrei Vasilevskiy‘s agent said there are no guarantees given by the Lightning about next years expansion draft. Vasilevskiy doesn’t have a no-movement clause.

MyNHLTradeRumors: Pierre LeBrun said on TSN yesterday that he thinks the Lightning will eventually trade Ben Bishop, either this offseason or closer to the trade deadline.

Stephen Whyno: Steven Stamkos said that teammates must understand that in “order to keep us together, they have to realize the situation with the salary cap.”

Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times: After re-signing Steven Stamkos and Viktor Hedman, attention turns to Nikita Kucherov. He made $700,000 last year and could get a new deal in the six year, $36 million range.

“We’ll do our best to get (it) done as quickly as possible,” Yzerman said. “It’s a process, hopefully sooner than later. I’m confident in that at some point, we’ll be able to reach an agreement.”

Yzerman and Kucherov’s camp have been talking, but a deal doesn’t appear to be imminent. Kucherov could receive an offer sheet.

“That’s obviously a concern,” Yzerman said. “I don’t know what other teams’ plans are. If we’re put in that situation, we’ll make decisions when we have to.”

The Lightning are also in talks with RFAs Alex Killorn and Vladislav Namestnikov, who both could receive offer sheets as well.

Aside from Kucherov, the Lightning may be hoping that some of their future free agents – Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat – would consider signing for less than market value on their next contracts.

If the Lightning look at signing anyone in free agency it might be a right handed defenseman or a depth forward.

They could also free up some cap space by trading Ben Bishop or Jason Garrison.