It didn’t take long for the bubble to begin bursting on the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Stanley Cup party.
The effects of a flat salary cap took its toll on the Lightning less than two weeks after winning their second Stanley Cup. Tampa Bay bid farewell to defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who signed with Anaheim, and the team was forced to place center Tyler Johnson on waivers as the NHL’s free agency period opened Friday.
Among skaters, Shattenkirk agreed to a three-year deal worth $11.7 million, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal has not been announced.
The Lightning entered the offseason projected to have about $4.5 million of room under the cap, also lost forward Carter Verhaeghe, who signed with Florida. As for Johnson, who had four goals and seven points in 25 playoff games, he was placed on waivers with three years remaining on a seven-year, $35 million contract that includes a no-trade clause.
Much of the Lightning’s core remains in place with captain Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, defenseman Victor Hedman and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy all under contract.
The flat cap led to a flood of players hitting the market. They included a large number of restricted free agents, whose rights were not retained because teams feared what contracts those players could be awarded in arbitration.