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How Bolts could fit Erik Karlsson under cap

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Over the last few hours, it’s been reported that the Tampa Bay Lightning were one of the favorites to land franchise defenseman Erik Karlsson from the Ottawa Senators. For that to happen, Bolts GM Steve Yzerman would have to get creative because he has to find a way to create cap space.

As of right now, the Lightning only have $3.446 million in cap space. Even if we forget about Karlsson’s extension, which would start next year, they still have to find some money to make it work. If anyone can pull this off, it’s Yzerman. He’s managed to pull rabbits out of his hat before (see this year’s trade deadline).

So, how can Yzerman make this work? There’s a few different ways. Let’s take a look.

• Find a taker for Ryan Callahan

Trading Callahan is going to be easier said than done. The 33-year-old is currently the second-highest paid forward on the team at $5.8 million per year for the next two seasons. Callahan put up five goals and 18 points in 67 games last season and he also has a long injury history. To make matters worse, he underwent shoulder surgery in late May. He’s expected to be sidelined for five months.

Still, there are teams that won’t be competitive that could take on the final two years of this contract if the Lightning make it worth their while. The Montreal Canadiens were willing to take on Steve Mason‘s contract from Winnipeg (they eventually bought him out). The Habs still have cap space. Could they be part of a deal?

The one thing the Lightning can’t do is retain salary. They’ll need money next year to pay Karlsson and Nikita Kucherov and they already have Matthew Carle’s dead money ($1.83 million) on the cap.

• Unload Dan Girardi and Brayden Coburn

These two veteran defenseman combine to make $6.7 million (Coburn earns $3.7 million, Girardi earns $3 million). It’s not like the Lightning don’t have youngsters that can step into that role right away, either. Both Slater Koekkoek and Jake Dotchin were regularly scratched at the end of last season because there was no room for them.

Yes, losing Girardi and Coburn would hurt you in the leadership department, but it’s a small sacrifice to make if they’re going to add Karlsson to their current group of defensemen.

Even if they’re forced to give up Mikhail Sergachev to the Senators, they’d still have a top four of Karlsson, Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh and Anton Stralman. That’s as good of a top four as there is in the NHL right now.

• Get Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat or Alex Killorn to waive their NTC

This all depends on what their going to give up to get Karlsson. If they have to unload a center like Brayden Point, then they’ll want to keep Johnson because he’s a natural center. If Yzerman finds a way to keep point, Johnson could become expendable.

Of course, if they wanted to trade Johnson, it would have been easier to do so before July 1st when his no-trade clause kicked in. But maybe they didn’t realize how motivated Ottawa was to trade Karlsson in the summer.

Johnson has six years remaining on his contract at a cap hit of $5 million per season, while Palat has four years left on his deal at $5.3 million. Again, either player would have to accept to be moved, which might complicate matters. Maybe either one of these players could be headed to Ottawa in the trade. They’re still both just 27 years old, so the Sens could have an interest in them.

Moving Killorn’s deal may be a little more difficult. He has five years left at $4.45 million.

• Make Senators retain salary

As if this would ever happen.

Karlsson is set to earn $6.5 million this year. Convincing the Sens to eat some of that contract would help the Lightning fit him under the cap this season, but again, it’s unlikely that the Senators will be interesting in going down that route for obvious reasons.

MORE: 

No prospect should hold up an Erik Karlsson deal

Five logical landing spots for Erik Karlsson

What would Erik Karlsson mean for Stars?

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

PHT Morning Skate: Botterill has Sabres on right track; Karlsson is still dominant

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• With Erik Karlsson likely on the move in the near future, TSN’s Travis Yost explains why the Swedish blueliner is still a dominant force. (TSN)

• Karlsson would instantly make any team better, but it doesn’t sound like Dallas Stars fans are willing to give up Miro Heiskanen, even if it means landing the Sens defenseman. (Defending Big D)

• In his short tenure as Sabres GM, Jason Botterill has done a great job of getting the Sabres back on the right track. (The Hockey News)

• Jaroslav Drobny played 11 seasons in the Czech League between 1938 and 1949, but he was also an incredible tennis player. He played at Wimbledon before World War II. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

• Third overall pick Jesperi Kotkaniemi got off to a rocky starts at Habs development camp last week, but he managed to finish strong. (Habs Eyes on the Prize)

• Former NHL goalie Manny Legace has been hired as the goalie coach for the Columbus Blue Jackets. (NHL.com/BlueJackets)

• Not only does Canucks prospect Jett Woo have a cool name, he also plays a style that can make him a fan favourite down the road. (Sportsnet)

• Young Senators fan Jonathan Pitre, who died in April, was honored at the team’s development camp in a very special way. The Sens decided to hand out an award in his honor to the player(s) that work the hardest during the camp. (Ottawa Citizen)

• After missing the playoffs in 2018, it’s interesting to see that ‘Hawks GM Stan Bowman didn’t approach the offseason with a little more urgency. (Chicago Tribune)

• The New York Islanders hired Lane Lambert to be Barry Trotz’s assistant coach. Lambert worked with Trotz in both Nashville and Washington. (Newsday)

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Shea Weber expected to miss 5-6 months after knee surgery

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The hits just keep on coming for the Montreal Canadiens.

On Thursday morning the club announced that all-star defenseman Shea Weber is expected to miss anywhere between five and six months after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a meniscal tear in his right knee.

The injuries are starting to pile up for Weber. The 32-year-old was limited to just 26 games in 2017-18, as he was dealing with a foot injury he suffered in the first game of the regular season. Weber underwent surgery to repair the injury in March and he’s now undergone a second surgery to fix his knee.

“During the procedure, it was determined that the damage to his knee was more serious than previously anticipated and the situation required a more comprehensive procedure to repair a meniscal tear. It is important to mention that this procedure could not have been performed earlier due to his recovery to his previous foot surgery. As such, we expect a recovery period from this latest knee surgery to be five to six months, which will keep him out of action until mid-December 2018,” said the Club’s head physician, Dr. David Mulder.

If management wasn’t sure about whether or not they should rebuild in 2018-19, this should put an end to that debate right now. Weber missing the first three months of the season is a huge blow to a team that will have to scratch and claw for every point on a nightly basis.

MORE:
Time for Canadiens to embrace a rebuild
P.K. Subban, Canadian, wins fourth of July

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Blue Jackets ink ‘key contributor’ Boone Jenner to four-year deal

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There’s some uncertainty as to whether or not the Columbus Blue Jackets will be able to sign Artemi Panarin to a long-term deal, but questions have now been answered about another young forward on the team.

On Thursday morning, the Jackets announced that they had signed forward Boone Jenner to a four-year, $15 million contract.

“Boone Jenner has been an important player for the Columbus Blue Jackets with his work ethic, character and leadership on and off the ice,” GM Jarmo Kekalainen said in a release. “He is still a young player that is improving in all facets of the game and we couldn’t be happier that he will continue to be a key contributor to our team in the years to come.”

It was a tough year for Jenner at times, as he collected just one goal in 29 games between Nov. 22-Jan. 30. The 25-year-old’s point totals have decreased over the last three years (49, 34 and 32), but his points-per-game rose slightly from 2016-17 to 2017-18.

But Jenner has never been able to replicate the offensive success he had in 2015-16, when he scored 30 goals and 49 points in 82 games. Still, his cap hit of $3.75 million is more than reasonable for a player of his potential.

The Blue Jackets now have to figure out contracts for restricted free agents Oliver Bjorkstrand and Ryan Murray. They have over $11.6 million in cap space, so they shouldn’t have a problem settling those new contracts.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

PHT Morning Skate: Carlson’s day with the Cup; Offseason winners, losers

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• Rotoworld’s Ryan Dadoun looks at the winners and losers of the offseason so far. A few Canadian teams didn’t do so well this summer. (Rotoworld)

• Who’s the best American player in the NHL right now? The staff from NHL.com debates. Auston Matthews, Patrick Kane and Blake Wheeler were all in the mix. (NHL.com)

Ian Cole wasn’t a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets for very long, but his departure leaves the team with a big hole to fill. (Columbus Dispatch)

• Bruins prospect Martin Bakos, who is Slovakian, has always looked up to fellow Slovak Zdeno Chara. (Boston Globe)

• Yesterday was John Carlson‘s day with the Stanley Cup. Not only did he bring it to a firehouse, he also visited a children’s hospital, too. (NBC Sports Washington)

• Fun fact: both times the Lightning acquired Matt Carle, they did so on July 4th. The reviews from his time in Tampa are mixed. (Raw Charge)

• Rangers prospect Ty Ronning hasn’t had an easy journey to the NHL, but that’s not surprising when you consider how his father, Cliff, made it to the show. (New York Post)

• John Tortorella is one of the unique personalities in the NHL. He might go a little overboard at times, but the league could use more people like him. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

• The San Jose Sharks aren’t panicking after they failed to land John Tavares in free agency. Instead, they’ll use the opportunity and cap space to bring another impact player to town. (NBC Sports California)

• Sarah McLellan looked back at Minnesota’s decisions to sign Zach Parise and Ryan Suter during free agency six years ago. (Minneapolis StarTribune)

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.