Clearly, it's not because the Tampa Bay Lightning is busy chasing Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson that they are too busy to handle more moves and take care of their own free agents. On Wednesday, the Bolts announced they had re-sign forward Adam Erne to one-year, one-way contract worth $800,000. The breaking news report came just one day after the team had announced they had signed their star player Nikita Kucherov to a massive eight-year contract extension.
Erne had three goals and one assist in 23 games this past season. He also put up 12 goals and 26 points in 41 games with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch.
Fans are taking out their calculators and seeing if, after its latest signing, the Lightning can still manage to make a move for Karlsson and make it happen before another suitor jumps in and steal him from under their eyes. For now, while the Lightning, Vegas Golden Knights, New York Rangers, San Jose Sharks, Columbus Blue Jackets and Dallas Stars have all spoken to the Senators about acquiring Karlsson, the star defenseman remains in Ottawa.
That being said, that means that with Erne's contract settled, the Lightning has now taken care of all its free agents this summer and know exactly how much space they have under the payroll to make an offer to Karlsson. According to the information provided by Cap Friendly, the Bolts now have $ 2,646 million freed up against the cap space, which means that to get Karlsson, for whom they've been the frontrunners of the derby for the past several weeks, they will have to dumb at least $ 3.9 million immediately.
Rumors have it that the Lightning will need the help of a third team in the potential trade for Karlsson. The Rangers have been said to be involved in negotiations, as it was also reported that the New Jersey Devils could be approached in the process. According to Chris Ryan of NJ.com, the New Jersey Devils have been rumoured to be the third team involved in the Karlsson trade talks. Ryan took the time to see the cap space and assets that to be part of the deal and suggested they could take on Bobby Ryan while likely getting another asset in return, or acquire Ryan Callahan or Dan Girardi along with another assets from the Lightning.
No one can complain about the Lightning signing Erne to his one-year extension. After all, it's not like the forward is costing the team a whole lot against the cap space as they keep chasing Karlsson. Fans won't even dare to criticize the Bolts for the massive contract extension offered to one of their best players in Kucherov.
They can only hope that the Lightning and general manager Steve Yzerman will be able to land Karlsson nonetheless. Can you imagine the Tampa Bay roster with Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman and Karlsson on board?!