Source: Guentzel, Lightning agree on contract

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Winger Jake Guentzel and the Tampa Bay Lightning have agreed in principle on a new contract, a source told ESPN on Sunday, confirming a report.

Full details on the signing should be announced on Monday, with the expectation that the contract will carry a seven-year term.

The Lightning acquired Guentzel from the Carolina Hurricanes earlier on Sunday in exchange for a 2025 third-round draft pick. That gave Tampa Bay an exclusive negotiating window with Guentzel ahead of Monday’s unrestricted free-agent market opening.

Guentzel, 29, is a four-time 30-goal scorer, including 30 goals in 67 games between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Hurricanes last season. He won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2017.

The Lightning opened up significant salary cap space on Saturday at the NHL Draft, sending defenseman Mikhail Sergachev ($8.5 million average annual value) to Utah and forward Tanner Jeannot ($2.665 million AAV) to the Los Angeles Kings.

Many speculated those moves were made in order to re-sign captain Steven Stamkos, who becomes an unrestricted free agent on Monday. But BriseBois told ESPN that he didn’t increase his offer to Stamkos following those trades, and that both the player and the team expected he would test free agency.

“It’s in the best interest of our organization to explore all options in the coming days, whether it be via trades or by getting into free agency,” BriseBois said. “We have this cap space. We can allocate it in different ways by either getting volume or quality. I don’t know yet how we’re going to do that. I know the priority is going to be to address our forward group.”

Guentzel is four years younger than Stamkos and could slide into his old spot on left wing with center Brayden Point and right wing Nikita Kucherov.

Guentzel was one of the most highly coveted forwards on the free agent market heading into the offseason. With his arrival in Tampa, that honor might now be bestowed on Stamkos.

News of the agreement was first reported by Daily Faceoff.

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