Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche, Tampa Bay Lightning face busy summers

The Colorado Avalanche have won the Stanley Cup, and now general manager Joe Sakic has a busy summer ahead.

His additions through the years, particularly at this season's trade deadline, gave the Avalanche the depth they needed to break through the second round after three consecutive playoff disappointments, reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2001 and win their first championship since then. But he has a lot of players on expiring contracts.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, meanwhile, came up two games short of the NHL's three-peat since the 1980s and won't have as drastic a remake as last season.

What awaits the two Stanley Cup finalists in the offseason:

Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche have about $26 million in cap space available, but a lot of potential unrestricted free agents.

They lost No. 1 goalie Philipp Grubauer to free agency last offseason and goalie Darcy Kuemper's contract is up this summer. Backup Pavel Francouz has two years left at a $2 million cap hit.

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Colorado Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri hugs general manager Joe Sakic after Game 6.
Colorado Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri hugs general manager Joe Sakic after Game 6.

Nazem Kadri, who scored the overtime goal in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final and recorded a second-round hat trick after receiving threats, is due a big raise from 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 goals) is a restricted free agent. Other UFAs include Andre Burakovsky, Darren Helm and Jack Johnson.

Sakic can also begin negotiating an extension with star Nathan MacKinnon, who will be entering the final year of his contract.


July 7: The Avalanche acquired New York Rangers goalie Alexander Georgiev and indicd Kuemper would head to free agency.

July 5: The Avalanche re-signed Cogliano for one year at $1.25 million.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning, who lost their entire third line and other depth players last season, are tight against the salary cap again, particularly with Brayden Point's eight-year, $76 million extension beginning.

Their top unrestricted free agent is Ondrej Palat, who has been with the team since 2012-13 and is a consistent playoff producer, including 11 goals this postseason. He has 12 career playoff game-winning goals and averaged $5.3 million in his most recent contract.

Their other UFAs are trade deadline acquisitions Nick Paul and Riley Nash, plus defenseman Jan Rutta, who scored in Game 5 of the Final. Brandon Hagel, another trade deadline acquisition, is signed for two more years at a reasonable $1.5 million cap hit.

Captain Steven Stamkos is signed for two more seasons and fellow core members Nikita Kucherov, Point, Victor Hedman and Andrei Vasilevskiy are signed for longer.

“Who says we’re done?" Stamkos told reporters after Game 6. "This core is here and we’ve battled and been through everything you can think of, and for the most part, we found a way to come out on top.”


July 3: The Lightning trade defenseman Ryan McDonagh to the Nashville Predators for defenseman Philippe Myers and forward Grant Mismash. Though McDonagh played a key role in the back-to-back titles, the move saves cap space. McDonagh, 33, has a $6.75 million cap hit over the next four seasons and Myers, 25, has one year left at $2.55 million before he becomes a restricted free agent. Tampa Bay still will have to make another move if it's going to re-sign Palat.

July 1: The Lightning announced that they re-signed Paul for seven years at a $3.15 million cap hit.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NHL news: Lightning, Stanley Cup-winning Avalanche face busy summers