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NHL Notebook: With Steven Stamkos set to hit free agency, Lightning acquire rights to Jake Guentzel

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Photo credit:Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Aleena Aksenchuk
19 days ago
As decade-long Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is set to hit the open market on Monday, the organization has been busy conjuring up a headline-worthy deal.
On Sunday, Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois revealed that the organization acquired Jake Guentzel from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a third-round selection in the 2025 NHL Draft.
Guentzel was expected to become a hot commodity on the free agent market on July 1st due to the expiry of his five-year $30 million contract, which he signed ahead of the 2019-20 season, but now he’ll look towards the future, and a new deal with the Lightning.
The forward spent the better part of this season with the Pittsburgh Penguins before being traded to the Hurricanes for the remaining 17 games. While making himself at home with a new team, he made an impact, scoring 30 goals and 77 points.
Drafted in the third round of the 2013 draft by the Penguins, Guentzel officially joined the team during the 2016-17 season, making a lasting impression and contributing 13 goals and 21 points in 25 playoff games to aid in Pittsburgh’s second part of their back-to-back Stanley Cup Championship the same year.
Throughout his eight years in the NHL, Guentzel has collected 227 goals and 491 points across 520 games. Additionally, he’s recorded 38 goals and 67 in 69 playoff contests.
Of course, the excitement for Guentzel to join the Tampa Bay organization comes with big shoes to fill, with captain and 16-year Lightning forward Steven Stamkos set to enter free agency on Monday.
On Friday, Stamkos’ agent, Don Meehan, informed The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun that the forward will become a free agent on July 1st unless something changes with the Lightnings position. However, BriseBois confirmed Saturday following the 2024 NHL Draft that the two parties could not come to an extension agreement solidifying Stamkos’ position as a free agent.
It may have seemed clear to most that there would be no doubt that the Lightning would re-sign their captain. Still, the two parties struggled throughout the season to come to an agreement. Despite the efforts to clear up cap space, having traded away defenseman Mikhail Sergachev and forward Tanner Jeannot, it seems it was not enough.
If there is no further business between Stamkos and the Lightning, it will be the first time the forward will become a free agent throughout the entirety of his career. However, he did come close during the 2016 offseason, notably talking to the Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres, and Toronto Maple Leafs, but was resolved with his re-signing with the Lightning to his current eight-year deal days before the open market.
Stamkos’ career with the Lightning began back in 2008 when the club selected him first overall during the NHL Draft. From there, he flourished wearing Tampa Bay colours, winning two Stanley Cup Championships (2020 and 2021) and two Maurice Rocket Richard Trophies (2010 and 2012).
The 34-year-old has recorded 555 goals and 1137 points across 1082 games and 16 seasons with the Lightning. Should this be his last, he will leave as the franchise leader in games played, goals, and points, amongst other accomplishments.

Leafs re-sign forward Max Domi

Another gritty player in the NHL is sticking around with his respected team for a few more years.
On Sunday, The Athletic’s Chris Johnston revealed that the Toronto Maple Leafs are re-signing forward Max Domi to a four-year deal with a $3.75 million cap hit until the 2027-28 season.
When Domi first signed a one-year deal with the Maple Leafs in July 2023, it was with the expectation that he would bring a durable toughness to the team, particularly during the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. However, his abilities on the ice quickly surpassed this initial expectation. He not only provided the club with the toughness they needed, but also emerged as a scoring threat, often seen alongside his linemate Auston Matthews.
The 29-year-old recorded nine goals and 47 points this past season, with another goal and four points during the Maple Leafs seven-game first-round loss.
Domi’s new deal will be the first time he has been inked to a multi-year contract in four years, the last being a two-year contract signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets in October 2020.
Throughout nine years, Domi has recorded 130 goals and 417 points across 661 games. He began his career with the Arizona Coyotes in 2015-16 after being selected by the club 12th overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. In 2018, he was traded to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Alex Galchenyk, and again in 2020 to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Josh Anderson. From there he was apart of a three-team trade that sent him to the Carolina Hurricanes. He signed as a free agent with the Chicago Blackhawks in July 2022, but was traded a year later to the Dallas Stars before going the Maple Leafs as a free agent in 2023.

Jets place Nate Schmidt on Unconditional Waivers and Blue Jackets to buyout Adam Boqvist’s contract

The Winnipeg Jets have placed defenceman Nate Schmidt on unconditional waiver for the purpose of a buyout, according to Daily Faceoff‘s Frank Seravalli.
Schmidt was in the final year of a six-year deal he initially signed with the Las Vegas Golden Knights in 2018 with a $5.95 million cap hit, according to PuckPedia. The buyout will leave the Jets with a $2,716,667 cap hit next season and a $1,616,667 in the 2025-26 season. 
The buyout comes after a season of struggles for Schmidt. The 32-year-old produced only two goals and 14 points throughout 63 games, the worst output of any of his seasons with at least 50 games played
The Blue Jackets are also making moves by placing defenceman Adam Boqvist on unconditional waivers with the intent of a buyout. 
Seravalli revealed on Sunday that due to the blueliner being just 23-year-old the Blue Jackets will receive an uncommon buyout credit for the upcoming season. 
According to PuckPedia, Boqvist was entering the final year of his three-year deal with a $2.6 million cap hit. The Blue Jackets will receive a $66,666 cap credit for the 2024-25 campaign, will retain $533,334 in dead cap space for the 2025-26 campaign, and will save $2.6 million towards the cap for next season. 
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