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2021 Free Agency Recap

(Photos via NHL)

By Jake Ricker

Many people didn't expect the Lightning to make too many moves during free agency outside of signing some cheap bottom six players and a backup goalie. However, JBB had other plans and went out to fill almost every single need the Bolts had. In this article, we will take a look at each of the Bolt's free agency signings.

G Brian Elliott - 1 year $900,000

With MacElinney becoming a UFA, the Bolts needed a backup goalie. And Brian Elliott is a great fit to back up Vasy this upcoming season. 36, Elliott has played in 502 career games with a 2.53 GAA and a .910 SV%. Last season with the Flyers, Elliott played in 30 games posting a 3.06 GAA and a .889 SV%, and while these are not the greatest numbers, the flyers were one of the worst defensive teams in the NHL last year.

Elliott brings lots of experience to the backup position and can be a good potential role model for younger goalies he might work with if Vasy ever goes down with an injury (knock on wood). He was also cheap, which was important for the Bolts in their current cap situation. Overall this was a great signing, and Elliott should do well here in Tampa.

D Zach Bogosian - 3-years 2.55 million (850,000 AVV)

Bogosian is back! Bogosian, who played in just eight regal season games with the Bolts last year, has returned to the team after a year with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Last season Bogosian played in 45 games with the Leafs and had just four assists. It's no secret that Bogosian is not a top NHL player, but he provides depth for the Bolts on the right side of the defense, which is something the team desperately needs. Bogosian also played fairly well in the Lightning's system as in just the eight games he played with the Bolts, he had half as many assists as he did in Toronto.

This is another cheap contract which is a theme that you will see today. At just $850,000 per year, Bogosian is a familiar face that is a great locker room presence and a good depth pice on the right side. Fans are also ecstatic to have Bogo back, which makes this a near-perfect pickup for the Bolts.

F Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - 2-years 2 million (1 million AVV)

In 53 games with the Colorado Avalanche, Bellemare scoring nine goals and two assists for a total of 11 points last year. Bellemare is a fourth-line type of guy that can play those tough bottom-six minutes. He also brings a lot of playoff experience to the table, having played for Colorado and Vegas.

At 1 million per year, this is one of the more expensive contracts given out by the Lightning, but the Bolts needed some more bottom-six forwards to replace the ones they lost. While again he is no superstar, he can be a big help to the rookies that get a shot at the NHL roster this year with his experience.

F Charles Hudon - 1-year $750,000

Hudon played in 15 games last season, with the Canadiens scoring one goal and one assist. Hudon, who is 27 years old, has not been able to find his groove in the NHL. His best year came in 2017-2018 when he put up 30 points in 72 games played with the Habs. Hudon still has the potential to get back to how he played in 2017, and a change of scenery just might do that for him.

On a one-year two-way deal, there is little to no risk here for the Bolts. Hudon will likely play down with the Crunch in the AHL and will only play with the Bolts if they are faced with injuries.

F Gabriel Dumont - 1-year $750,000

Dumont played in 34 games last season with the Iowa Wild (AHL). He scored 12 goals and had 19 assists for a total of 31 points. Dumont played for the Syracuse Crunch before joining the Wild, so he is another guy that is familiar with the Lightning organization.

Just like Hudon, Dumont is on a one-year two-way contract, so he will spend the majority of his time in the AHL. Dumont will be able to be a veteran that can help show the way for some of the younger guys.

F Remi Elie - 1-year $750,000

Elie played in 28 games with the Rochester Americans last season. He scored ten goals and had nine assists for a total of 19 points. Elie is another depth AHL signing who also has some NHL experience. Again Elie will be on a 1-year two-way contract like many others, making him a depth signing which is always important to have.

D Darren Raddysh - 1-year $750,000

Raddysh played in 24 games last year with the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL). He would score two goals and 13 assists for a total of 15 points. Raddysh is a right-handed defenseman which is probably the best part of this signing. It's no secret that the Lightning are very short on the right side, and Raddysh helps add depth to that right side.

Raddysh will be on a 1-year two-way contract, so this signing is again no risk to the Bolts and adds depth for the organization. Overall, Raddysh has an outside chance at becoming an NHL player and, at worst, give the Bolts another player to be on the right side of the defense.

D Andrej Sustr - 1-year $750,000

Yes, you read that right; Andrej Suster has returned to the Lightning. Sustr, who played 41 games in the KHL last year, had five total assists. Sustr has a lot of experience in the NHL back from when he played with the Lightning. In 2015 Sustr had four goals and 17 assists for a total of 21 points, not bad for a depth defender.

Now Sustr is nowhere close to his 2015 self, but he is also a right-handed shot. So despite his recent struggles, Sustr again adds depth to the right side of the defense and brings a veteran presence to the Syracuse Crunch locker room.

G Maxime Lagacé - 1-year $750,000

Lagacé only played in one game last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, however in that one game, Lagacé made 29 saves on 29 shots giving him a perfect 1.000% on the season. There is a small sample size for Lagacé at the NHL level, but he has played a lot in the minors and has put up some decent numbers.

The Lightning had very few goalies on their roster before free agency, so Lagacé, who is on a 1-year two-way contract, can play in the AHL or ECHL, giving the Bolts enough goalies at each level. It is unlikely we ever see Lagacé at the NHL level; however, if he plays well, he does have some NHL experience and can be a serviceable backup for a few games if needed.

F Corey Perry - 2-years 2 million (1 million AVV)

The most shocking of all the Bolts free agent signings, Corey Perry signed a two-year two million dollar deal with the Lightning. Perry, who has lost to the Bolts in the last two Stanley Cup finals, played in 49 games last year and had nine goals and 12 assists for a total of 21 points.

Perry is a 4th line player, much like Pat Maroon. He is a very annoying player to play against, which is why he is disliked by many. But having him on your team means that you don't have to deal with his annoying antics and other teams do. At just one million per year, Perry is a very low-risk signing and does add a lot of grit to the Bolts. Perry does also have the ability to put up some points as he is a good net-front presence.

With all that in mind, Perry does bring a lot to the team, even if he is one of the more "dirty players" in the NHL. He's on the cheap deal, so it presents little risk to the Bolts. Let's just hope he can make up with Vasy before the pre-season after their little scuffle in the Stanley Cup Final.

Final Thoughts

So there are all of the Bolts free agents signings. Overall, JBB did a good job addressing the Bolts depth, bottom 6, and goaltender needs. He was also able to get all of these players on cheap deals helping the Bolts keep as many players from their back to back runs together. While the Bolts will not be as good as they were last year majority of these signings all, help the Bolts stay at the high level they have been for the last few seasons.

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