Lightning’s 4 best contracts for the 2022-23 season

As a team constantly pressed against the ceiling, the Tampa Bay Lightning has earned a reputation as a team capable of getting creative in order to retain its most important basemen. This has included aggressive wage lossusing draft picks to encourage teams to take a salary supplement in the trades, shoot unexpected starting gems minor trades, and even circumventing the long-standing injury reserve rule.

One aspect that can be overlooked in all of these cap shenanigans, however, is the Lightning’s efficiency when it comes to signing their players. Over the past decade, the team has had a remarkable success rate with their contracts, as they often avoid overspending in free agency and instead choose to provide their homegrown players with deals that allow them to both secure the proverbial sack while remaining team friendly.

This has resulted in a team offering a number of contracts that would be considered below market value. So, with those deals in mind, what are the Tampa Bay Lightning’s top four contracts heading into the 2022-23 season?

#4: Erik Cernak – $2.95 million

At the start of 2022 free agency, the Lightning made headlines by re-signing not just one or two but all of them. three of their restricted free agents who had one year remaining on their current contracts to eight-year contracts. It was unexpected, because you rarely see that kind of commitment to three players on the same day, but it was a sign that Tampa Bay fully believed in their core that took them to three straight Stanley Cup Finals.

Whereas Mikhail Sergachev and Anthony Cirelli are the headliners for these deals, the one player who is often overlooked is Erik Cernak. As a defensive-minded defenseman, his game plan is more about landing hits and blocking shots than racking up points.

Robert M. Larson