Even though it was kind of accepted that the Tampa Bay Lightning were not going to be able to afford to keep Corey Perry, most figured he might go find a deal that at most would bump his $1 million deal to $2 million.
Instead, Perry signed with Chicago for $4 million, and that inflation of price highlights the struggle the cap-strapped Lightning are going to have this free agency period.
Tampa Bay Lightning: It cost what now?
We highlighted yesterday the general situation the Lightning are in heading into free agency. Assuming Phil Myers is sent to Syracuse for the season, Tampa has 16 players signed and $8,475,000 in cap space.
They have four forward slots and a backup goalie slot that, as of now, need to be filled.
So even if Tampa went with the bare minimum and went with 21 players on the roster for 2023-24, that leaves an average of $1,695,000 per player to sign five players.
Because outside of Tanner Jeannot, who is a restricted free agent, everyone else Tampa would need to resign is now on the open market to make as much as they please.
If Corey Perry got $4 million, how much is Alex Killorn or Ian Cole going to get?
A big reason for the inflation is that the general consensus is that this year’s overall crop of free agents is relatively underwhelming. So in past years, where the bidding war would go towards first-line centers, this year, the bidding war is going to Corey Perry.
And because of their cap situation, the Tampa Bay Lightning don’t have the money to engage in bidding wars for compliment pieces.
If the price isn’t right for the Lightning, 2023-24 could wind up being a season where we see a couple more guys called up from Syracuse than originally expected.
Because if Corey Perry got $4 million…