Tampa Bay Lightning acquire the rights to Jake Guentzel on the eve of free agency

The Tampa Bay Lightning got a head start on free agency by acquiring the rights to high-scoring winger Jake Guentzel on Sunday.

The Lightning sent a 2025 third-round draft pick to Carolina. The move allows the Lightning to sign Guentzel before he hits the open market on Monday.

Guentzel is coming off scoring 30 goals this past season for the Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins. Tampa Bay cleared more than $11 million in salary cap space Saturday by trading away Mikhail Sergachev and Tanner Jeannot.

General manager Julien BriseBois said there were many ways he could use the space but that he was not planning to re-sign Steven Stamkos, the longtime captain and face of the franchise who is expected to test free agency.

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