TAMPA, Fla. – The Lightning released the 2023-24 season schedule Tuesday. The 82-game slate will open October 10 at Amalie Arena against Nashville.
One player who will not take the ice for the Bolts is Ross Colton. The 26-year-old forward, who Tampa Bay selected in the fourth round of the 2016 draft, was sent to Colorado on Wednesday. The Lightning get a second-round 2023 pick (37th) in return. That gives the team four picks with the other three in the sixth and seventh (two) rounds.
The Lightning would have preferred to keep Colton, who is 47-36-83 in 190 career games and who memorably scored the only goal in Cup-clinching Game 5 against Montreal in 2021. However, the New Jersey native was due a hefty raise after signing a two-year, $2.250-million deal as a restricted free agent in the summer of 2021.
In the news: Wander Franco Homers In Return, Though Rays Fall To Royals
Colton most certainly will not be the only player to leave Tampa this summer. Other moves could come this week as the league assembles in Nashville for the draft.
It would be a shame to lose Alex Killorn, but salary cap restrictions could make it very difficult to retain the unrestricted free agent. The popular and widely-respected 33-year-old forward, who was drafted by the Bolts in 2007, has 466 points in 805 games.
Any combination of restricted free agent Tanner Jeannot and unrestricted free agents Corey Perry, Ian Cole and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare could also be on their way out. Does 38-year-old Brian Elliott return as Andrei Vasilevskiy’s backup?
More dominoes will fall this week, for sure. The question is in which direction.
We can’t do this without your help; visit our GiveSendGo page and donate any dollar amount; every penny helps.