Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

What the NHL's new Las Vegas team means for the Lightning

Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning attends the 2016 NHL Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Wednesday night in Las Vegas. [Ethan Miller | Getty Images]

Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning attends the 2016 NHL Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Wednesday night in Las Vegas. [Ethan Miller | Getty Images]

The National Hockey League is coming to Sin City.

Las Vegas was awarded an expansion franchise Wednesday after a unanimous vote by the league's board of governors, with the plan to start play in the 2017-18 season.

The franchise will pay a $500 million expansion fee — distributed equally among the other 30 teams — and join the Pacific Division in the Western Conference, playing in a 17,500 seat arena right off the strip; Quebec's expansion proposal was "deferred."

The NHL's first expansion since 2000 — when Minnesota and Columbus each paid $80 million — means an expansion draft will be held in June 2017.

And that will provide a challenge for all teams, including the Lightning.

Clubs will have the choice to protect either eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goalie, or seven forwards, three defensemen and a goalie. Each team will lose one player to the Las Vegas franchise, which will select 30 total (14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders).

This draft will have a significant impact on moves that general manager Steve Yzerman and the rest of his peers make this summer and next season.

There are rules they have to follow.

All players with a no-move clause (partial or full) and under contract at least through 2017-18 must be protected (unless they waive them), with Ryan Callahan and Valtteri Filppula the two Lightning players currently applicable to this.

All first- and second-year pros (NHL or American Hockey League), including unsigned draft choices, will be exempt.

Teams must also meet several requirements, exposing each of the following:

• One defenseman who is under contract in 2017-18 and had played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season or 70 or more games in the prior two seasons.

• Two forwards who are under contract in 2017-18 and played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season or played in 70 or more games in the prior two seasons.

• One goaltender who is under contract for 2017-18 or is a restricted free agent before that season.

So how does this impact the Lightning?

In net, the Lightning will have to leave either Andrei Vasilevskiy or Ben Bishop exposed; Bishop is entering the final year of his contract, so he isn't required to be protected. That's why there's been much speculation whether Bishop, a Vezina Trophy finalist with a $5.95 million cap hit next season, will be traded either this summer or before next season's trade deadline.

Whom the Lightning chooses to protect will depend heavily on some key contract decisions, with captain Steven Stamkos an unrestricted free agent July 1, Bishop, Victor Hedman, Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat due new deals after next season. Nikita Kucherov is a restricted free agent this summer.

For Yzerman, the expansion draft will likely be considered when approaching trades or free agent signings this summer, weighing how they'll fit in with the exposed/protected list.

Let the fun begin.

Patrick Kane is MVP

Patrick Kane won the Hart Trophy, becoming the first player born and trained in the United States to be named the league's MVP. The NHL's scoring champion is the first Blackhawk to take home the Hart since Stan Mikita in 1968. Kane received three trophies at the NHL Awards show, adding the Ted Lindsay Award after his fellow players recognized him as the game's most outstanding player, and the Art Ross Trophy in recognition of his 106-point season. The Capitals' Barry Trotz, won the Jack Adams Award (best coach) for the first time in 17 seasons behind an NHL bench.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Award winners

Vezina Trophy (best goaltender)

Braden Holtby, Capitals

Hart Trophy (most valuable player)

Patrick Kane, Blackhawks

Jack Adams Award (top coach)

Barry Trotz, Capitals

Selke Trophy (top defensive forward)

Anze Kopitar, Kings

Norris Trophy (top defenseman)

Drew Doughty, Kings

Lady Byng Trophy (player best combining sportsmanship, ability)

Anze Kopitar, Kings

Masterton Trophy (perseverance and dedication to hockey)

Jaromir Jagr, Panthers

Calder Trophy (top rookie)

Artemi Panarin, Blackhawks

NHL Foundation Player Award (community service)

Mark Giordano, Flames

Mark Messier Leadership Award

Shea Weber, Predators

Ted Lindsay Award (most outstanding player as voted by the players)

Patrick Kane, Blackhawks

What the NHL's new Las Vegas team means for the Lightning 06/22/16 [Last modified: Thursday, June 23, 2016 7:37am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over "inappropriate conduct"


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels' overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  2. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater


    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  3. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip


    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.
  5. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games


    The Bucs will have single-game tickets for 2017 home games on sale July 28, with a new wrinkle: the best games will cost more for fans.

    Bucs fans cheer Jameis Winston after a victory in their final home game of the 2016 season. Individual tickets for the Bucs' three most coveted home games (against the Patriots, Bears and Giants) will cost more in 2017.