Let’s take a look at what has occurred over about the last year in the lightning organization. The GM that was hired in January after my firing just finished his first season and his first draft about a year ago and is poised to experience his first free agent period. After multiple trades and handing out free agent contracts to many key players the new GM essentially disappears which leads to my return after a brief stint as ASG of the stars. 

At first glance the team looks pretty solid with a very strong top 6, a pretty solid top 4 on D and a good veteran starting goalie so I'm thinking at least I have some assets still and this team will be able to compete. Unfortunately, when I took a deeper dive into the team I realized that we were about 2 million over the cap and still had a couple holes in the bottom of the starting lineup to fill. Added to that troubling fact is that the following year and the year after that we would be losing two if not three players to unrestricted free agency because of the term that was handed out to the free agents just a couple months before. 

At a lost on how to get under the cap for this season and while also trying to figure how to minimize the amount of players to lose in free agency in the following years I decided to try and do a little re-tool. I put key players on the block such as Panarin, Johansen, Spurgeon and even had talks about Filip Forsberg but the market was dry and was being offered pennies on the dollar for great players. I realized that a re-tool wasn't going to happen so the only option was to try and compete. I had to ditch some salary and that’s when Spurgeon became a casualty of the cap and dumped him to the west for $0.30 on the dollar. The deal was so good for the other team I remember the GM asking me something along the lines of "is there something wrong with him that I don't know about? 

So at this point, Spurgeon is gone, the re-tool didn't work and we will be competing. Unfortunately our bottom six is filled with mid 60OV guys and our bottom pair on D sucks also. That's when I realized that Virtanen was only 23 years old and I could put his 2.6 million dollar cap hit in the minors for part of the year and bolster my bottom 6 a bit. 

I'm going to leave this at a "to be continued", I'm at 425 words with lots more to say so lets spread the love!