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Credit Lightning GM Julien BriseBois with this Braydon Point contract, a.k.a. the biggest contract steal of the RFA season (OK, Kevin Lebanc’s $1 million deal with the Sharks notwithstanding.) There aren’t many 41-goal centers in the NHL, and there certainly aren’t many that are counted among the league’s elite two-way centers like Point. His three-year deal for $6.75 million AAV goes beyond the usual tax-friendly bargains you find with the Lightning. Evolving Hockey projected a $7.15 million cap hit on a three-year term. This bridges him to another season of RFA status after 2022. Yes, it’ll still take some creative accounting to fill out the roster next season, with three defensemen signed and a lot of money locked in on the cap. But the Lightning have the foundation for a championship team locked up for the next three seasons: Two great centers (Steven Stamkos, Point), a franchise defenseman (Victor Hedman) and a Vezina-winning goalie (Andrei Vasilevskiy). Point coming in under market value helped make that possible.

Greg Wyshynski
Greg Wyshynski

Will Dustin Byfuglien’s leave of absence lead to a permanent departure from the NHL? TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that the defenseman is “contemplating his options,” while Winnipeg-based TSN radio host Rick Ralph said a source told him Byfuglien “lost his love for the game.” The Jets aren’t talking about it. “When you have a player ask for time and privacy, you open [it] up to all the speculation. I understand that. Our options are to be completely forthcoming, and then we open up the question and answer period; or to do what’s always done and say that it’s a private matter,” said Maurice, who said there have been “a number of open lines of communication” with Byfuglien and the team.

Greg Wyshynski
Greg Wyshynski