A free agent could have a huge impact on the team he or she joins, according to several of the top teams in the league.
“We’re always going to want the best players,” said General Manager Jim Rutherford, the man who took the league by storm in his first year as GM.
“But we also want the guys that can help us win.
So if you can help the team win, you’re going to get a chance.
You’re going’t have to wait for the next year.
You can go right now and go work for the team.”
That could be the case for several free agents this season, who could have more of an impact on a franchise than just their names on the roster.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have a slew of players who could be available, including forwards Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tyler Johnson, Steven Stamkos and Ben Bishop, among others.
But the Lightning have not committed to any one of those players, though they are trying to find a way to make the playoffs.
“We’ll see where it goes from there,” Rutherford said.
“There’s some guys that we’ll get to and some guys we’re not going to.
But we’re looking for the best talent to play.”
A possible signing that could potentially put the Lightning in contention is forward David Backes, a second-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.
The 20-year-old winger is expected to be a restricted free agent next summer.
“I’d love to be back in Tampa,” Backes said after the team’s 7-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.
“I’m happy in St. Petersburg.
I’m looking forward to getting out here and playing hockey.”
Backes scored one goal and had an assist in a 4-2 win over the Blues.
He’s the latest free agent who has played for the Lightning, but it’s not his first time on the road to Tampa Bay.
In 2015, Backes played for a team in Sweden that won the Stanley Cup.
He was part of a six-player trade that sent forwards Anders Bjorkstrand and Mikael Granlund to the Colorado Avalanche for defenseman Erik Johnson, forward Mark Barberio and a 2018 second-rounder.
BjorkstrANDER, BABY: He was the No. 1 pick in 2010.
He got to play in the Olympics and he won gold.
He won the Norris Trophy as the best defenseman.
Now he’s getting paid like the No