How much cap space will the Tampa Bay Lightning have in the 2024 NHL offseason?

The Tampa Bay Lightning are once again looking to be serious Cup contenders, but what will things look like in the 2024 NHL offseason?
New York Islanders v Tampa Bay Lightning
New York Islanders v Tampa Bay Lightning / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

Few NHL teams have been as consistent as the Tampa Bay Lightning since 2015, and they are once again on their way to the NHL Playoffs despite hitting a few speed bumps. Tampa hasn’t been a top-three team in their division in 2023-24, but they were the only team in the Eastern Conference that truly deserved to snag a spot as a wild card. 

The Lightning will enter the 2024 offseason with more than a few players to re-sign, so there could be some turnover for general manager Julien BriseBois, and with no picks until the fifth round in the NHL Draft this summer, it could mean quite the organizational retooling in Tampa. Luckily, the only notable upcoming free agent is just Steven Stamkos, while the others haven’t contributed enough to seriously warrant a potential return. 

That being said, it won’t be easy to re-sign Stamkos and make viable replacements this offseason, as the Lightning only have nearly $12.6 million in cap space, which ranks 24th in the NHL. 

Tampa Bay Lightning may be cash-strapped in the 2024 NHL offseason

Tampa also doesn’t have much to go on regarding their prospects pool, which could further signify a step back next season. Despite competing for a playoff spot all year, it’s also worth noting that they weren’t the same powerhouse we have grown accustomed to watching. So if they don’t reach a deal with Stamkos and if Mathew Dumba and Anthony Duclair are rentals, then restructure, they will. 

There is also the fact that Victor Hedman and Nick Perbix will be due for contract extensions when the new league year begins. So, BriseBois will have some serious decisions to make for the upcoming offseason, such as whether to keep an aging core around or to start the restructuring process. 

If there is one major positive here, it’s that Stamkos and Hedman shouldn’t cost as much from an AAV standpoint as they previously had, given their respective ages. That could give BriseBois some much-needed cap relief, and he can perhaps add another viable player this summer if he chooses. But he also needs to start thinking long-term, and being such a cash-strapped organization, keeping aging players around may not be the best option.