Here we go again, the Lightning are being criticized over the use of LTIR.
The reigning Stanley Cup champions made a trade on Tuesday, sending Tyler Johnson to the Blackhawks.
The Lightning also sent a 2023 second-round pick to the Blackhawks in exchange for defenseman Brent Seabrook. This trade will strike the ire of fans once again, because Tampa Bay will be placing Seabrook on LTIR.
Seabrook, 36, is a former first-round selection of the Blackhawks has been part of three Stanley Cup championships.
He missed all of last season with a hip injury, and will remain on LTIR for the remainder of his contract. Seabrook is signed through the 2023-24 season, carrying a $6.8 million cap hit.
Due to having the LTIR designation, Seabrook will not count against the Lightning’s salary cap.
This is not the first time the Lightning have been in the news for the usage of LTIR. Prior to the start of last season, the Lightning placed Nikita Kucherov on LTIR after he had hip surgery.
Kucherov went on to miss the entire regular season but came back for the playoffs. During the NHL postseason, the salary cap is no longer in effect. Essentially when Kucherov was removed off the LTIR the Lightning were over the cap.
This had fans from all over the league in an outrage. Hockey fans would accuse the Lightning of cheating and cap circumvention.
In all actuality, it was neither of those things. The Lightning was using the rules in place set by the NHL.
How Does LTIR Work?
The whole LTIR designation has a long complex breakdown, here’s the simplified one. If a player is injured and misses at least 10 NHL games and 24 days due to said injury, they can be placed on LTIR.
This also includes players who are going to retire due to injury, like Seabrook.
When a player returns from LTIR, the team must be salary cap compliant. This only counts for the regular season, as stated before, the salary cap isn’t in effect in the playoffs.
Too be fair, there is a bunch of math formulas to figure out and teams have a cushion that have fall within the postseason. Long story short, LTIR might be looked at a way to circumvent the cap, but the league has this in place for a reason.
The Lightning just seem to do a better job at maneuvering their cap space to allow them to be successful. That’s not cheating, that’s smart.
Fans across the league need to stop complaining about this rule. The NHL should try and clean it up a bit to stop giving off the perception of cap circumvention.
However, the Lightning were perfectly within the rules set forth by the NHL regarding the Kucherov situation. Now they are fully within the rules regarding Seabrook being placed on LTIR. Keep in mind, the Blackhawks would have had him on LTIR as well.
The truth of the matter is simple, the road to a championship goes through Tampa Bay. Stop complaining over how they use LTIR. Until the NHL cleans up the rule or adjusts it, the Lightning are cap compliant.
– Chris Henrique (@ChrisHenrique on Twitter)
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