Things can change with one conversation, but as it stands right now, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Brayden Point do not have a contract. Not only do they not have a contract, they’re not even close to having one. “We haven’t made any progress,” said Point’s agent Gerry Johannson, “but we’re working hard trying to get something figured out. We’re having dialogue.”
There’s a tendency to paint one side as bad and another good in these kinds of situations, but that’s not the case here. Negotiations have been cordial, but they haven’t been substantive enough, nor have they yielded any real progress. But one thing is certain. Point and Johannson did not look at Mitch Marner’s six-year, $65.4 million deal and see dollar signs flash before their eyes. To use Marner’s contract as a comparable would be futile for a couple of reasons. First, the Lightning don’t have that kind of cap space. But more importantly, it’s not how they and GM Julien BriseBois are willing to do business.
It’s generally accepted that even the best players in Tampa take bridge deals. Nikita Kucherov did it. So did Andrei Vasilevskiy. Victor Hedman didn’t exactly take a bridge deal because it was a five-year pact, but it was for a cap hit of only $4 million a year. BriseBois has made it clear that he’s not concerned with industry trends or what other players for other teams are receiving. He has a salary cap to manage and that’s what he’s going to do.