TAMPA BAY, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Hockey is back, which means fall is in full swing. Tonight, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s hockey season begins versus the Carolina Hurricanes, who are coming off a strong 2018-2019 season, ranking first in the metropolitan division and with many returning veterans that helped place them in that position, we know that preseason is primarily a roster battle, but also a skill platform for some rookies and AHL players.
Although there are at least eight veterans on the roster; all eyes will be evaluating the fit and performances of the new additions. The Lighting have been a playoff team for the past couple of seasons and seeing if they have a contending team yet again is a focus at the opening of hockey season. Fans are excited to see 27th overall pick Nolan Foote take the ice. Foote isn’t your typical forward–he’s taller and roughly ten pounds heavier, which caused people to speak on his skating pace. But where Foote may lack speed, he has size, powerful puck skills and an applicable hockey IQ.
In terms of roster battles, at the forward position we’ll see players like Danick Martel and Mitchell Stephens potentially giving vet Cory Conacher a run for that spot. Last season, defensive player Erik Cernak made the Lightning roster. Cernak showed to be a fit in Jon Cooper’s system, especially as a promising offensive defensive player, scoring five times in his NHL debut season.
On the opponent’s side of this match-up, the Hurricanes will monitor their new additions’ performances, particularly Fredrik Claesson, former Rangers and Senators player. Claesson is a simple and smart defensive player that can bring more structure to their defense. Claesson in a recent interview said, “It already feels like home” with the Hurricanes team, so tonight’s game will help determine if that feeling is mutual between him and the Carolina staff.
Our Florida National News poll has the Lightning taking tonight’s victory. Stay tuned with game updates and coverage at www.floridanationalnews.com.
Kasey Hudson is a Florida National News sports contributor. | email@example.com
Lightning Sign D Mikhail Sergachev, F Anthony Cirelli and D Erik Cernak to Eight-Year Contract Extensions
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, forward Anthony Cirelli and defenseman Erik Cernak each to an eight-year contract extension, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced today.
Sergachev, 24, has skated in 362 career regular season games, 358 of them with the Lightning, notching 36 goals and 174 points. He ranks fifth all-time in Tampa Bay franchise history among defensemen for goals and scoring and fourth for assists (138). The former ninth overall pick (of Montreal) in the 2016 NHL Draft has also played in 92 postseason games and posted eight goals and 30 points. He ranks second in Lightning history among defensemen for playoff games, goals, assists (22) and scoring. Sergachev’s eight-year contract is worth an AAV of $8.5 million.
Cirelli, 24, has skated in 294 career NHL games, all with the Lightning, recording 66 goals and 159 points. During the 2021-22 season, Cirelli posted 17-26—43 points in 76 games played, one point shy of his career high 16-28—44 pts. from the 2019-20 season. He led Tampa Bay forwards for blocked shots (67), ranked sixth in the NHL for penalties drawn (42) and finished fifth in Selke Trophy voting in 2021-22. In postseason play, Cirelli has notched 14 goals and 34 points in 92 games, ranking 11th all-time in Lightning playoff history for scoring. Cirelli’s eight-year contract is worth an AAV of $6.25 million.
Cernak, 25, has skated in 226 career NHL games, all with the Lightning, posting 16 goals, 59 points and a plus-51 rating. During the 2021-22 regular season, the Kosice, Slovakia native notched a goal and 13 points and led the Lightning for hits (165) in 55 games. Cernak has played in 73 career postseason games, recording two goals and 19 points. He netted the Stanley Cup-opening goal in Game 1 of the 2021 Cup Final versus Montreal, becoming the first Tampa Bay player to net his first career playoff goal in a Stanley Cup Final. A second round selection of the Los Angeles Kings (43rd overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft, Cernak was traded to the Lightning on February 26, 2017. Cernak’s eight-year contract is worth an AAV of $5.2 million.
NHL: Lightning Re-Sign Forward Simon Ryfors to a One-Year, Two-Way Contract
TAMPA BAY –The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Simon Ryfors to a one-year, two-way contract, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced.
Ryfors, 24, played in 72 games during the regular season for the Syracuse Crunch, Tampa Bay’s American Hockey League affiliate, posting 11 goals and 35 points, ranking tied for seventh on the Crunch for scoring. He also skated in five Calder Cup Playoff games with the Crunch and notched a goal, assist and a plus-four rating.
The Stockholm, Sweden native originally signed with the Lightning organization on May 12, 2021. Prior to that, he skated seven seasons with Rogle BK of the SHL, tallying 41 goals and 93 points to go along with 165 penalty minutes in 250 games. He set career bests in the SHL in 2020-21 for goals (25), assists (20) and points (45).
Lightning Acquire F Brandon Hagel, Two 4th Round Picks from Chicago
TAMPA BAY, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Source: Tampa Bay Lightning // The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired forward Brandon Hagel, Chicago’s fourth-round selection in 2022 and fourth-round pick in 2024 from the Blackhawks in exchange for forwards Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk, Tampa’s first-round selection in 2023 and first-round selection in 2024, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced today. Both first-round picks the Lightning are sending to Chicago are top 10 protected.
Hagel, 23, has played in 55 games so far this season for Chicago, recording 21 goals and 37 points. Hagel ranks second on the Blackhawks for goals and game-winning goals (3) and fourth for scoring and power-play goals (4). In 108 games with Chicago over three seasons, Hagel has posted 30 goals and 61 points. He made his NHL debut March 11, 2020 versus San Jose, the only game he played during the 2019-20 season. Hagel is under contract through the 2023-2024 season with a salary cap number of $1,500,000.
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