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Lightning reportedly interested in Andrew Ladd

Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has said they had to go forward with some decisions and plans, even as the wait continues on whether captain Steven Stamkos will re-sign.

And it appears one contingency plan could involve veteran wing Andrew Ladd.

Ladd, 30, an unrestricted free agent, has drawn interest from the Lightning, along with the Predators, Islanders and Canadiens. It makes sense, with Ladd a five-time 20-goal scorer in the last six years, including racking up 25 split between Chicago and Winnipeg last season.

Ladd, at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, would also provide size and a physical presence that the Lightning could use in its forward group.

It's unclear how much interest Tampa Bay has in Ladd, or how much the wing would want in free agency (he had a $4.5 million cap hit). But rest assured, he won't be the only name that is linked to the Lightning in coming days.

Free agency opens Friday at 12:01 p.m.

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Why a sign and trade with Steven Stamkos is possible

Steven Stamkos, with a full no-move clause, would have to give permission, holding the cards to go to the team of his choosing.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Steven Stamkos, with a full no-move clause, would have to give permission, holding the cards to go to the team of his choosing.

The Steven Stamkos Sweeptakes could be over before Friday's opening of free agency, whether he re-signs with the Lightning or not.

That's because there may be motivation, from both Tampa Bay and Stamkos, to orchestrate a sign-and-trade, if it's decided the captain isn't returning to the Lightning.

For Stamkos, 26, it's the only way he'd be able to get an eighth year on a contract from anyone, including the Lightning. Everyone, including Tampa Bay, can only offer seven when free agency opens at noon Friday.  For Tampa Bay, a sign-and-trade is a way to get an asset for Stamkos as opposed to losing a generational scorer and face of the franchise for nothing.

GM Steve Yzerman was asked at last weekend's NHL Draft if he'd consider a sign-and-trade with Stamkos, if he knew the All-Star center was gone.

"Never given it a thought so maybe I should think about it,” Yzerman said. “It’s an interesting idea … well losing him for nothing or losing him for an asset? I’d love to get an asset for him." …

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How the tax factor favors the Lightning in the Steven Stamkos sweepstakes

DIRK SHADD | Times

With captain Steven Stamkos just four days away from being the most coveted unrestricted free agent in years, there will be no shortage of suitors likely offering more annually than the Lightning.

Tampa Bay is still in the mix, however.

Aside from being a great on-ice fit, the Lightning. which is believed to have offered Stamkos an extension with worth $8.5 million annually, holds a couple x-factors over other suitors in that there's no state income taxes in Florida and the Lightning is the only team that can offer him eight year contract (others only seven). As Tampa Bay Times analysis in January showed Stamkos could net nearly the same annually after taxes in Tampa Bay at $8.5 million as $10 million in New York (Rangers, Islanders), presuming he’d be a New York City resident (see chart); Stamkos would make more over the length of the deal in Tampa because of the extra year. Stamkos would net just $500,000 less annually than a $10 million deal Detroit, another strong suitor, but, again, more over the length of the deal. …

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Kucherov, Killorn among those receiving qualifying offers

The Lightning issued qualifying offers Monday to most of their remaining restricted free agents, including wings Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn.

Vladislav Namestnikov, Kristers Gudlevskis, Nikita Nesterov, Tye McGinn, Yanni Gourde also received qualifying offers.

Teams had until 5 p.m. Monday to give qualifying offers, otherwise the players would become unrestricted free agents.

The Lightning still has to sign these players, Kucherov, Killorn and Namestnikov no doubt top priorities. Kucherov wiill get a big bump from his $700,000 salary, and is the one most likely to get an offer sheet from another team. Other teams can start talking to RFAs on Tuesday.

Tampa Bay already signed RFAs J.T. Brown. Cedric Paquette and Luke Witkowski over the weekend. The agents for Kucherov, Killorn and Namestnikov said they planned to be in touch with Tampa Bay this week.

 

 

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Steven Stamkos sweepstakes begin

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) celebrates after he shoots and scores the game winning goal in the shoot out to beat the Winnipeg Jets with a final score of 6 to 5 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa in February.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) celebrates after he shoots and scores the game winning goal in the shoot out to beat the Winnipeg Jets with a final score of 6 to 5 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa in February.

The Steven Stamkos Sweepstakes have officially begun, and there's going to be no shortage of suitors trying to reel him in.

""We're going to chase the big fish," Sabres GM Tim Murray said.

At midnight Friday, Stamkos, 26, the Lightning superstar captain, reached the five-day interview period, where other teams can court him before he becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1. The Sabres plan to make a strong push, Murray saying he's going to show Stamkos their "blueprint." The Red Wings freed up $7.5 million in cap space in dealing Pavel Datsyuk's contract Friday night, with GM Ken Holland saying they're going after a high impact forward. TSN reported Detroit may offer the max of seven years at $10 million annually. Stamkos'  hometown Maple Leafs may offer more money, not to mention sizable endorsement potential.

Canucks Jim Benning may get fined for tampering for saying Thursday he planned to call Stamkos. Teams aren't allowed to talk money during the interview period, but can sell free agents like Stamkos in other ways, gauging his interest. Murray said he has no sense if Stamkos is interested in Buffalo. …

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Lightning trades former first-round pick Anthony DeAngelo

The Lightning drafted Anthony DeAngelo 19th overall in 2014.

DIRK SHADD | Times (2014)

The Lightning drafted Anthony DeAngelo 19th overall in 2014.

When the Lightning Anthony DeAngelo 19th overall in 2014, it showed a lot of faith and confidence in the touted defenseman despite supposed character concerns.

Tampa Bay loved DeAngelo's puck-moving abilities and offensive skill, the kind of player that can impact a power play.

But just two years later, DeAngelo is gone, the Lightning trading him to Arizona Saturday for the 37th overall pick, which they used to pick defenseman Libor Hajek. DeAngelo was coming off a tough first pro season with AHL Syracuse, a minus-18 while getting healthy scratched eight times. DeAngelo tweeted he was excited to be with the Coyotes, thanking Tampa Bay.

It sounds like it might have been a mutual parting, or even initiated by DeAngelo himself.

"I wish things could have been different but I think this is better for all involved," said DeAngelo's father, Lou. "We are thankful for the opportunity... We were looking for an opportunity to play in the NHL sooner rather than later."

Former Syracuse coach Rob Zettler said at the end of the season DeAngelo's struggles were mostly in the defensive zone, as he's obviously a gifted offensive player. …

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Flames acquire Elliott from Blues, eliminating potential Ben Bishop suitor

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.

UPDATE, 8:20 p.m.: The Calgary Flames acquired goalie Brian Elliott from the St. Louis Blues, eliminating one potential suitor for the Lightning's Ben Bishop. The Blues received the 35th overall pick in the draft and a conditional third-round pick.

The price for Elliott was likely less than what the Lightning would have asked for Bishop, a two-time Vezina Trophy finalist. While TSN's Bob McKenzie reported the Flames had received permission to talk to Bishop's camp about contract, those discussions were never initiated, the Times has learned.

DEVELOPING: 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. …

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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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