Tampa Bay Lightning Look to Keep Pair of Wingers

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The Stanley Cup Final is over and a new champion has been crowned. For the first time in 21 years, the Colorado Avalanche are champions. The offseason is officially underway. The NHL Draft is ten days away, and free agency is around the corner. Teams are looking to lock up their players before turning to the market. Today we focus on the Tampa Bay Lightning. The team needs to give out a pair of contracts. The two-time champions are not done just yet. But they do have a pair of wingers they are looking to keep around.

Tampa Bay Wingers Looking For New Deals

Rumour: Joe Smith from the Athletic discusses the Tampa Bay Lightning bringing back Ondrej Palat and Nick Paul

NHL free agent frenzy

The Tampa Bay Lightning have a pair of contracts to give out. One is Ondrej Palat, who has arguably been one of the best players ever to put on the Lightning Jersey. Nick Paul was a trade deadline acquisition after turning down a contract offer worth $2.5 million per year by the Ottawa Senators. Both played pivotal roles with the Lightning and both looking for new deals.

Why The Lightning Should Bring Them Back

When the line of Yanni Gourde, Blake Coleman, and Barclay Goodrow split apart many wondered if the depth could take them to the next level. The moves of Brandon Hagel and Nick Paul changed that.

Nick Paul was a playoff hero for the Lightning. Playing better than advertised, he came through for the team, especially in round one with his two-goal Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He had a career year in the regular season with 16 goals, 16 assists, and 32 points. He notched nine points in the playoffs.

Nick Paul has gone on to tell Joe Smith in an interview that he definitely wants to stay. It’s a money game now and he is due for a raise well above the $1.35 million he has been making.

Ondrej Palat has a different case than Nick Paul. He has the clutch factor to his game and already ranks second in franchise history in playoff goals with 48, including 11 this postseason. He is a homegrown talent after being drafted in the seventh round. Tampa has developed and paid the man and kept him in town to help capture two Stanley Cups. He is very much part of the core that includes Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov, and Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Palat is due a raise north of the $5.3 million he is coming off of. Palat went on to finish second in points on the team with 21. Being part of the top line, they terrorized the New York Rangers for 23 points. He compliments his centres very well. He went on to finish sixth in points in the regular season with 49. It was one of his better seasons. The winger makes more of an impact with the team than without the team.

Why Tampa Bay Lightning Should Give The Contracts

It is going to take some creativity, but yes they are. The Tampa Bay Lightning should give these players new contracts. Even though they are tight against the cap, both players are crucial to their success. As the quest for another championship is underway, both players want to remain in the fold. Both will have plenty of suitors and it would be wise for Tampa to outbid them.