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Bolts re-sign Cirelli, Joseph, and Volkov for the upcoming season

The Stanley Cup champs will face a lot of changes in the 2021 season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Credit: Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP
Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) celebrates his go-ahead goal against the Boston Bruins during third-period NHL Stanley Cup Eastern Conference playoff hockey game action in Toronto, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020.

TAMPA, Fla. — With hockey season around the corner, the Tampa Bay Lightning have secured several returning players for their 2021 season.

General manager Julien Brisebois announced Thursday that the Lightning have re-signed Anthony Cirelli to a three-year contract. The 23-year-old forward contributed to the Bolt’s recent Stanley Cup championship, scoring three goals in playoff games this year.

He’ll be joining forwards Mathieu Joseph and Alex Volkov on the ice this coming January. Joseph played 37 games with the Lightning last season after rank tying eighth for goals among all NHL rookies during the 2018-2019 season. Volkov skated with the Bolts for nine games last season after playing the first half of the season with the Syracuse Crunch.

This news comes after a Wednesday announcement revealed that the 2021 regular season will look pretty different than what fans were used to, in terms of the schedule.

The Bolts will be competing in a new division with seven other teams for a shortened 56-game schedule (compared to a normal 82 games). This means they’ll match up against some familiar faces, like the Detroit Red Wings and the Florida Panthers, along with some new competitors.

As for the fans, a limited number will be allowed to attend home games at Amalie Arena, according to an email sent to season ticket holders. The letter also mentions that season ticket holders will get priority and that details on other ticketing options will become available soon. The number of fans who will be allowed in the arena is still unclear.

RELATED: Tampa Bay Lightning plans to have fans at Amalie Arena during regular season

What we do know is that fans can expect to cheer on their team with a number of health and safety guidelines in place. According to the Amalie Arena website, enhanced air filtration and sanitizing processes will be used along with limited attendance and pod spacing.

Information on how to purchase tickets will be available in the coming weeks.

Sadly, winger Nikita Kucherov will miss the entire 2021 regular season because of hip surgery. Captain Steven Stamkos, however, is healthy and ready to play in the opening game. 

The Bolts re-signed another high-profile player in late November: Mikhail Sergachev. The 22-year-old defenseman skated in 70 games during the Bolts' Stanley Cup-winning 2019-2020 regular season. Sergachev's new three-year contract is worth roughly $4.8 million annually.

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