Three Key Offseason Storylines To Follow With The Tampa Bay Lightning

Nikita Kucherov #86, Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Nikita Kucherov #86, Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Steven Stamkos #91, Tampa Bay Lightning
Steven Stamkos #91, Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

3. What will contracts for Stamkos and Hagel look like next year?

At the officially turning point of the NHL season calendar, July 1, the Lightning can start handing out contract extensions to players on expiring deals ending at the end of the 2023-24 season. There are a few big names to worry about from that group, most notably Steven Stamkos and Brandon Hagel.

The Lightning added Hagel from the Chicago Blackhawks, the reason they are without their first round picks for the next two drafts. In his two seasons with the Lightning thus far he has 71 points in 103 games, and he is playing in a top six role for the team.

Hagel’s 30 goals this past season was remarkable. it was tied for the third best total on the team. Getting Hagel extended will definitely be a big piece to the puzzle for the Lightning to continue to push that championship window open. However, the Lightning’s captain has to be the central point.

Steven Stamkos signed an eight year $68 million contract on Jun. 29, 2016. The contract carried a cap hit of $8.5 million and currently makes up 10.2% of the Lightning’s overall cap hit. Stamkos has been one of the Lightning’s best players since the team drafted him first overall in 2008. Keeping him in Tampa Bay will definitely be one of the main goals this upcoming season, and it is something that could be finalized by the time opening night roles around.

It will be interesting to see whether or not Stamkos will take a little bit of a discount at this point to stay in Tampa Bay. While the team is starting to run out of assets, they still have the potential to win now, and that can only happen if the team is not fighting right up to the cap limit every year.

The Lightning’s plan for the future will be interesting to see. We will be able to get our first glimpse at how they will move forward at the upcoming 2023 NHL Draft in Nashville. Tampa Bay currently has three picks for the upcoming draft. They own their own sixth and seventh round picks as well as the Anaheim Ducks seventh round pick.