With their season finally over, the Tampa Bay Lightning face some tough decisions regarding their free agents.
ESPN.COM: Scott Burnside reports Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has “a host of free agents” to deal with this summer, including his goaltending and winger Simon Gagne. Burnside recently listed the Lightning’s unrestricted free agents and their possible futures. He believes it wouldn’t be a shock if Yzerman re-signed Dwayne Roloson to a one-year deal for around the same money ($2.5 million) he made this season, but wondered if he’ll re-sign Mike Smith or look for a more affordable backup option via the free agent market. Burnside believes the respective post-season performances of Eric Brewer and Marc-Andre Bergeron is bound to increase their value, suggesting Brewer could cash in on the free agent market. The injury history of Gagne make it hard to imagine any team will pay him close to the $5.25 million he earned this season. Burnside also feels Yzerman will try to retain Sean Bergenheim though it remains to be seen how much of a raise he could get, while Adam Hall could remain as an affordable re-signing.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I could see Roloson and Smith re-signed, along with Hall and Bergenheim. Brewer might also consider staying. Gagne’s injury history sadly means he’s unlikely to be re-signed. Bergeron played well in the post-season but it remains to be seen if he’ll be re-signed. I’m sure we’ll get much more analysis on the Bolts and their free agents, as well as potential trade or free agent targets, very soon. The Lightning currently have over $36.5 million invested in 11 players, and what will impact the other free agents will be the new contract for RFA superstar forward Steven Stamkos, who is bound to cash in for at least $7 million per season, while Ted Purcell has also earned himself a nice raise over the $750K he made this season.