The Colorado avalanche to have won the Stanley Cupand now CEO Joe Sakic has a busy summer ahead of him.
His additions over the years, particularly on this season’s trade deadline, gave the Avalanche the depth they needed to break through the second round after three consecutive playoff disappointments and reach the Stanley Cup final. for the first time since 2001 and have since won their first championship. But he has many players with expiring contracts.
The Tampa Bay Lightning, meanwhile, fell two games behind the NHL’s three-peat since the 1980s and won’t get as drastic a remake as it did last season.
What awaits the two off-season Stanley Cup finalists:
The avalanche has about $26 million in cap space availablebut many potential unlimited free agents.
They lost to No. 1 goalkeeper Philipp Grubauer offseason last season and goalkeeper Darcy Kuemper’s contract expires this summer. Backup Pavel Francouz has two years to go with a $2 million cap hit.
FREE AGENCY: An early look at players who could test the market
SPORTS NEWSLETTER: Sign up now to get daily sports headlines in your inbox
Nazem Kadri, who? scored the overtime goal in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final and scored a second-round hat-trick after receiving threats, is the result of a big raise in his $4 million salary after a career-best 87 points. So is Valeri Nichushkin ($2.8 million), who had a career-best 52 points and an impressive postseason.
Trade Deadline Acquisitions Josh Manson, Andrew Cogliano and Nico Sturm are UFAs and Artturi Lehkonen (two series clinching targets) is a restricted free agent. Other UFAs include Andre Burakovsky, Darren Helm and Jack Johnson.
Sakic may also begin negotiations for an extension with star Nathan MacKinnon, who will enter the final year of his contract.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning, who lost their entire third line and other deep players last season, are once again tight against the salary cap, especially as Brayden Point’s eight-year $76 million extension begins.
Their best unrestricted free agent is Ondrej Palat, who has been with the team since 2012-13 and is a consistent play-off producer, including 11 goals this post-season. He has 12 winning goals in the playoffs and averaged $5.3 million in his most recent contract.
Their other UFAs include the acquisitions of trade deadlines Nick Paul and Riley Nash, plus defenseman Jan Rutta, who scored in Game 5 of the Finals. Brandon Hagel, another trade deadline takeover, is signed for another two years at a reasonable cap hit of $1.5 million.
Captain Steven Stamkos will sign for two more seasons and fellow core members Nikita Kucherov, Point, Victor Hedman and Andrei Vasilevskiy will be signed for an extended period.
“Who says we’re done?” Stamkos told reporters after Game 6. “This core is here and we’ve fought and been through everything you can imagine, and for the most part we’ve found a way to come out on top.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NHL News: Lightning, Stanley Cup-winning Avalanche Face Busy Summers