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Flames, Lightning working on potential Bishop deal

Calgary would likely need to know it can sign Bishop long-term before any potential trade.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Calgary would likely need to know it can sign Bishop long-term before any potential trade.

Goalie Ben Bishop could be in his final hours with the Lightning.

The Flames are pushing hard for a No. 1 goaltender, and have been in talks with Tampa Bay about Bishop, a two-time Vezina Trophy finalist. Calgary has also been talking to St. Louis about Brian Elliott.

TSN's Bob McKenzie reported this evening that the Flames have been given permission to talk contract with Bishop, who is entering the final year of his deal with a $5.95 million cap hit. To get that permission appears like talks are in advanced stages. Calgary would likely need to know it can sign Bishop long-term before the trade.

A question will be is Calgary's No. 6 overall pick tonight in play, which could make things move quicker.

GM Steve Yzerman said Thursday that he'd be prepared to deal a goalie if a trade "made sense."

"Not to wait for better because better might not come along," Yzerman said.

Stay tuned for updates.

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Lightning signs Brown, Paquette, Witkowski

J.T. Brown, a key bottom-six forward and penalty killer, received a $2.5 million deal ($1.25 million per year).

DIRK SHADD | Times

J.T. Brown, a key bottom-six forward and penalty killer, received a $2.5 million deal ($1.25 million per year).

The Lightning started chipping away at its many restricted free agents Friday, signing three, including RW J.T. Brown and C Cedric Paquette to two-year deals.

D Luke Witkowski also signed a one-year deal.

Brown, a key bottom-six forward and penalty killer, received a $2.5 million deal ($1.25 million per year), with Paquette $1.625 million ($800,000 next season, $825,000) in 2017-18.

Tampa Bay still has several restricted free agents to lock up, including RW Nikita Kucherov, a 30-goal scorer who is due a big raise from the $700,000 he made last season. The Lightning  has had preliminary discussions with Kucherov's camp, but so far preliminary, with no offers yet. There should be more talk leading up until July 1 and after.

RW Alex Killorn and C Vladislav Namestnikov also are restricted free agents, along with G Kristers Gudlevskis. Pat Brisson, Namestnikov's agent, said he plans to talk to Tampa Bay in the next week. The Lightning has an estimated $18.3875 million in cap space for next season, according to generalfanager.com. That doesn't include a potential contract for C Steven Stamkos, either. …

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Yzerman prepared to deal goalie if it makes sense

Lightning goalie Ben Bishop has been one of the hottest names on the trade market, especially with the Flames looking for a No. 1 goalie.

And general manager Steve Yzerman said Thursday he's spoken with every team that potentially might need a goaltender to see if there's a fit.

Whether a deal happens during this weekend's NHL Draft, or ever, remains to be seen.

"If or when the time comes, if a deal makes sense, I'm prepared to do it," Yzerman said. "Not to wait for better because better might not come along. It's a little tricky with the goaltenders and things can change. If at any point there's an opportunity that makes sense, I'd be prepared to act upon it."

Bishop, who has one more year left on his deal (at $5.95 million cap hit), has a partial no-move clause, meaning there's a list of teams he can be dealt to without his permission. As of Thursday night, teams had yet to be given permission to speak with Bishop's camp regarding a new contract, which would seem to be a precursor to any deal.

Yzerman indicated there's no pressure to make a deal this weekend, other than if a first-round pick in Friday's draft is involved. Calgary has the No. 6 pick, for example.

 

 

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Yzerman hasn't 'closed any doors' on Steven Stamkos deal

Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman indicated Thursday he's gotten the clarity he needs regarding captain Steven Stamkos' contract situation.

"For the time being," he said.

Yzerman is just not ready to reveal it.

"I think between myself, (agent Don Meehan) and (Stamkos), we know where we're at," Yzerman said.

Yzerman, being purposely coy, knows other teams can start talking to Stamkos Friday night at midnight, per the five-day interview window. Several teams are expected to jump at that chance. But Yzerman said they haven't "ruled anything out" in terms of still being able to sign Stamkos by July 1, when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

"Obviously he's still the property of the Tampa Bay Lightning," Yzerman said. "Until July 1. Anything is possible. No doors have been closed."

Now what does that mean? It's hard, and probably unfair, to read too much into Yzerman's comments. It could mean the Lightning gave Stamkos' their best offer, and Stamkos' camp said they want to at least see what else is out there first. Stamkos has said, after all, his preference is to stay. But it'd be worth his time to do his due diligence. After all, he's waited this long. …

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Flames in market for goalie, targeting Ben Bishop?

Ben Bishop's name has come up in trade rumors due to the fact he has just one year left on his deal, at $5.95 million cap hit.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

Ben Bishop's name has come up in trade rumors due to the fact he has just one year left on his deal, at $5.95 million cap hit.

It's no secret the Calgary Flames are looking for a No. 1 goaltender, hoping to land one at this weekend's draft.

And you'd have to think they'd try to pry Lightning goalie Ben Bishop.

TSN insider Darren Dreger spoke with Flames GM Brad Treliving, and on a radio spot, said. "It sure sounds like (Treliving) looking at Ben Bishop real hard."

"We’re in a bunch of different markets on that, so we’ll see how it goes,” Treliving said, per Sportsnet. “We’re looking at everything and balancing it.

“This is the time. You need a dance partner, that’s how it works, and you’d like to get [the goalie situation] taken care of. That’s sort of our preference right now.”

Bishop's name has come up in trade rumors due to the fact he has just one year left on his deal, at $5.95 million cap hit. And with the league expanding to Las Vegas for the 2017-18 season, the Lightning can't protect both Bishop and future No. 1 Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has said he knows he has to eventually make a decision at goalie, but indicated he could still see a possibility where both Bishop and Vasilevskiy start the season in Tampa Bay. …

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Ryan Callahan out five months after hip surgery

Ryan Callahan will miss five months, which includes the World Cup of Hockey, and likely the first month of the season.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

Ryan Callahan will miss five months, which includes the World Cup of Hockey, and likely the first month of the season.

Lightning wing Ryan Callahan was playing through an undisclosed lower body injury late in the season and throughout the playoffs.

Now we know how serious it was.

Callahan, 31, underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a labral tear in his right hip, which will force him to miss five months, which includes September's World Cup and the first month of the season, which begins Oct. 13. 

Callahan's surgery was performed in New York by Dr. Bryan Kelly.

Agent Steve Bartlett said the hip injury nagged Callahan for the second half of the season, leading him to miss the final three regular season games and sit out some practices during the playoffs. Callahan considered trying rehab before settling on surgery, Bartlett said. Callahan was scheduled to participate in the World Cup with Team USA, the tournament starting in mid-September. …

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Lightning full schedule released

Nikita Kucherov, left, and Ondrej Palat, right, celebrate a goal against the Penguins during the Eastern Conference final.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Nikita Kucherov, left, and Ondrej Palat, right, celebrate a goal against the Penguins during the Eastern Conference final.

The Lightning announced its full regular season schedule on Tuesday, the opener on Oct. 13 at Amalie Arena against the Red Wings.

Tampa Bay will start off with four home games, and finish with five of its last eight at home (18 of the final 31). There will be two six-game road trips, one five-gamer, and 16 back-to-backs (three consecutive sets in January).

The schedule, which starts later due to the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto (mid-September), will include a bye week from Feb. 12-17.  The All-Star break is Jan. 27-30. It will play the Penguins, which eliminated them in the Eastern Conference Final, three times.

 

2016-17 TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING SCHEDULE

 

   

Day

Date

Time

Opponent

 

Day

Date

Time

Opponent

Thu.

Oct 13

7:30 pm

Detroit

Sun.

Jan 8

1:00 pm

@ Pittsburgh

Sat.

Oct 15

7:00 pm

New Jersey

Thu.

Jan 12

7:30 pm

Buffalo

Tue.

Oct 18

7:30 pm

Florida

Fri.

Jan 13

7:30 pm

Columbus

Thu.

Oct 20

7:30 pm

Colorado

Mon.

Jan 16

4:00 pm

@ Los Angeles

Sat.

Oct 22

7:00 pm

@ Ottawa

Tue.

Jan 17

10:00 pm

@ Anaheim

Tue.

Oct 25

7:30 pm

@ Toronto

Thu.

Jan 19

10:30 pm

@ San Jose

Thu.

Oct 27

7:30 pm

@ Montreal

Sat.

Jan 21

8:00 pm

@ Arizona

Sat.

Oct 29

7:00 pm

@ New Jersey

Tue.

Jan 24

8:30 pm

@ Chicago

Sun.

Oct 30

7:00 pm

@ N.Y. Rangers

Thu.

Jan 26

7:30 pm

@ Florida

Tue.

Nov 1

7:00 pm …

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All 'quiet' on Ben Bishop front — so far

Ben Bishop has a partial no-move clause, meaning he has a list of teams he can be traded to without his permission.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

Ben Bishop has a partial no-move clause, meaning he has a list of teams he can be traded to without his permission.

The NHL's silly season continues, with the draft this weekend and free agency opening July 1.

Beware of fake Twitter accounts and false rumors.

There were some reports on social media - from fake accounts like one misrepresenting respected ESPN writer Pierre LeBrun - that Lightning goalie Ben Bishop was getting traded to Calgary Tuesday.

Now Bishop, 29, entering the final year of his deal at $5.95 million, may eventually get dealt. And Calgary is in need of a No.1 goalie. But Bishop might also not get moved. At the least, nothing is imminent right now. Bishop has a partial no-move clause, meaning he has a list of teams he can be traded to without his permission, and agent Allain Roy said everything was "quiet" Tuesday morning.

That could change during the draft Friday and Saturday in Buffalo, with general manager Steve Yzerman lilkely getting calls on Bishop, a two-time Vezina Trophy finalist, especially with Tampa Bay's cap crunch and backup Andrei Vasilevskiy a potential No. 1 of the future. Calgary, for example, has the sixth overalll pick and some talented young forwards. Yzerman would be smart to listen. …

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Yzerman hopes to have clarity on Stamkos by weekend

Steven Stamkos, like other players set to be unrestricted free agents July 1, can start talking to other teams on Saturday in an exclusive interview window.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Steven Stamkos, like other players set to be unrestricted free agents July 1, can start talking to other teams on Saturday in an exclusive interview window.

Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has maintained his goal and intention is to sign captain Steven Stamkos to a long-term deal.

And Yzerman is hoping to have some answers by this weekend.

Stamkos, like other players set to be unrestricted free agents July 1, can start talking to other teams on Saturday in an exclusive interview window.

Yzerman said he's had discussions with Stamkos and agent Don Meehan since the season ended but insists nothing has changed.

"We're doing all we can to sign him," Yzerman told the Tampa Bay Times Monday.

But with the Lightning needing to make a lot of other decisions this summer, like signing restricted free agent Nikita Kucherov and potentiallly figuring out its goaltending situation, it needs its first and biggest domino, Stamkos' contract, to fall. Yzerman needs to known what salary cap space he has to work with for the next two summers, which he knows will "define" his team.

"What we look like if Stammer re-signs with us, it effects what we can do with our team," Yzerman said. "For us, we'd like to know sooner than later." …

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Rick Bowness signs multi-year extension with Lightning

Rick Bowness has been on coach Jon Cooper's staff since the 2013-14 season, in charge of the defense and penalty kill, which ranked fifth in the league last seeason.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Rick Bowness has been on coach Jon Cooper's staff since the 2013-14 season, in charge of the defense and penalty kill, which ranked fifth in the league last seeason.

Associate coach Rick Bowness has signed a multi-year extension with the Lightning.

Bowness, 61, told the Tampa Bay Times last week he had a "couple" years on the deal.

"No plans to go anywhere," Bowness said.

Bowness has been on coach Jon Cooper's staff since the 2013-14 season, in charge of the defense and penalty kill, which ranked fifth in the league last seeason. Cooper has also credited Bowness, a former head coach in his fourth decade in the NHL, of helping teach him the league, a valuable resource in many areas.

Bowness surpassed the 2,000 game mark last season, but is still chasing his first Stanley Cup. The Lightning lost in the Stanley Cup Final last year and lost in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final this season. "We know we're close," he said.

And Bowness said he's "not even close" to retiring.

"The day I wake up and don't want to go to the rink, that's the day I'll retire," he said. "A long way from that."

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Lightning hire Todd Richards as assistant

Todd Richards, 49, has extensive head coaching experience, having coached the Minnesota Wild (2009-11) and Columbus Blue Jackets (2011-15).

Getty Images

Todd Richards, 49, has extensive head coaching experience, having coached the Minnesota Wild (2009-11) and Columbus Blue Jackets (2011-15).

Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman made it clear the recent coaching staff shakeup had nothing to do with anything his former teammate, Steve Thomas, did wrong since joining the organization in 2010 as player development coordinator.

"He had a tremendous impact on everyone here," Yzerman said.

But the Lightning felt like it was time for a change, which is why Thomas' contract wasn't renewed, and former Columbus head coach Todd Richards was hired Tuesday, joining Jon Cooper's staff. Yzerman lauded Richards' vast experience, more than 400 career games of head coaching experience with the Wild and Blue Jackets.

And Yzerman acknowledged Richards, who led the league's fifth-best power play in 2014-15 in Columbus, will have input on the Lightning's struggling unit, which ranked 28th last season. Cooper has primarily run the power play, and that's expected to continue, with Richards adding another voice.  

Yzerman indicated the rest of the coaching staff will return. …

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Steve Thomas not returning to Lightning staff

Steve Thomas, back left, had been on the staff of Jon Cooper, back right, since the 2013-14 season, and with the Lightning organization since 2010.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Steve Thomas, back left, had been on the staff of Jon Cooper, back right, since the 2013-14 season, and with the Lightning organization since 2010.

For the second straight offseason, coach Jon Cooper has made a change on his staff. 

Assistant Steve Thomas will not be returning next season, his contract not renewed by the club. Thomas, a former long-time NHL forward, had been on Cooper's staff since the 2013-14 season, and with the organization since 2010, when he served as a player development coordinator (2010-2012). 

Thomas worked with the forwards on Cooper's staff. It's unclear if Tampa Bay will pursue a replacement. The Lightning didn't renew George Gwozdecky's contract after last season. Brad Lauer was hired in his place.  

The Lightning could try to address its power play, which ranked 28th in the NHL this season, by adding a coach to help with it. Currently, Cooper primarily runs that special teams unit. 

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Lightning announces preseason schedule

The Lightning announced its preseason schedule Monday, with three home games starting Sept 27 against the Hurricanes. 

The other home games are Sept 29 against the Panthers, wrapping up Oct 8 vs. the Predators. 

Tampa Bay will also travel to Carolina Sept. 30, Nashville Oct. 1 and the Panthers Oct. 6. 

The regular season schedule will come out around June 21. 

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Jonathan Drouin: 'I definitely want to be here'

Jonathan Drouin was one of the biggest stars in the postseason, with five goals and nine assists in 17 games.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Jonathan Drouin was one of the biggest stars in the postseason, with five goals and nine assists in 17 games.

The relationship between wing Jonathan Drouin and the Lightning seemingly has been salvaged.

Drouin, 21, who requested a trade in November before a six-week holdout, indicated that demand is off the table, saying he expects to be back in Tampa Bay next season and beyond.

"I definitley want to be here," Drouin said. "I love the way this ended, I guess with this different and weird year. But the way this finished and it's definitely somewhere I want to play."

Drouin, who returned to AHL Syracuse after the Feb. 29 trade deadline passed, was one of the biggest stars in the postseason, with five goals and nine assists in 17 games. He's shown why the Lightning drafted  him No. 3 overall in 2013.

The Lightning was under no obligation to trade Drouin, who won't be a restricted free agent until after next season. And GM Steve Yzerman certainly isn't planning to.

"He makes us a better team, it's as simple as that," Yzerman said. "What he showed me, I think the best thing for this team right now is Jonathan Drouin on it."

More from today's exit interviews: …

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Steven Stamkos, Lightning still hopeful a deal can be reached

Steven Stamkos signs autographs to some of the approximately 100 fans lined up around 3 a.m. Friday to greet the Lightning at the Tampa Jet Center following the team's Game 7 loss to the Penguins.

LUIS SANTANA | Times

Steven Stamkos signs autographs to some of the approximately 100 fans lined up around 3 a.m. Friday to greet the Lightning at the Tampa Jet Center following the team's Game 7 loss to the Penguins.

Captain Steven Stamkos said he's never thought he's taken his Lightning jersey off for the final times.

And Stamkos, due to be an unrestricted free agent July 1, maintains he "definitely" wants to stay in Tampa Bay long-term, he and the team still hopeful something can get done.

"I hope to be back," Stamkos said. "We have some unfinished business. This group has been unbelievable, this city has been unbelievable to me. I can't believe it's been eight years already, time flies. The last couple years, you can finally see that light, you still haven't got to it, but it's there, it's dangling right in front of us. When you start something, you want to finish it, and i really hope that can be the case."

Stamkos, who returned to the lineup for Thursday's Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final after missing two months due to a blood clot, said he'll need a few weeks to give his mind a break. But Stamkos plans to discuss with his family, agents, and GM Steve Yzerman in coming weeks potentially coming back. …

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