Possible Deadline Acquisitions For The Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning have had their ups and downs this season, whether it’s caused by injuries, covid, or changes to the schedule. We’ve seen games where the Lightning have won 7-1, or lost 9-1, or had very close games that get lost because of penalties. Julien BriseBois, general manager of the Lightning, has made impressive moves in the past that have ultimately led to the Lightning winning two straight Stanley Cups. With the Lightning having lost their third line (Blake Coleman, Barclay Goodrow, Yanni Gourde) to free agency and the expansion draft, fans wondered what moves the Lightning would make in free agency.

The Lightning picked up Corey Perry, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Andrej Sustr, Zach Bogosian, and Brian Elliott in free agency during the offseason, trying to make up for the losses on the third line by bringing in some seasoned veterans. So far, these signings have seemed strong. Corey Perry is playing his best hockey in years, Bellemare is that locker room guy the Lightning needed, and Elliott has been a reliable backup. Unfortunately, Zach Bogosian has been injured most of the season, and Sustr is an AHL player at best.

Players Who Could Be Gone

The Lightning have an amazing group of players, a lot of the bottom 6 being an important part of this team. However, salary cap issues may be an issue if the flat cap continues. Some of the more expensive bottom six players could be moved, or some of the expiring players in the next couple years have a chance at moving. With Brayden Point’s contract going from $6.75m to $9.5m, moves are to be expected.

Jan Rutta (2G 10A 12P): Rutta, who’s having a strong season so far, is a player to look out for on the Lightning’s trade block. With the way he’s been playing, he could be expecting a pay raise after this season, as he’s an unrestricted free agent, or UFA, starting this offseason. If the Lightning can’t figure out a way to extend him without worrying about cap space, there’s a high possibility the Lightning could trade him for a cheap player with longer term.

Mathieu Joseph (8G 8A 16P): After a strong start to the season, Joseph’s production has slowed down since Point returned from injury. Joseph is a restricted free agent, or RFA, heading into the offseason, and fully deserves a pay raise. Not only is Joseph a great skater, he’s also a great two way player and a solid penalty kill player.

Boris Katchouk (2G 4A 6P): Katchouk is a player Lightning fans have been wanting to see make the jump to the NHL for a while now, but there’s a good chance the Lightning look at what they could get for him, as he hasn’t been playing too well this season and is already 23 years old.

Players Who Could Come To The Lightning

Lots of rumors have been spreading about who the LIghtning are looking to pick up at the trade deadline. Some of these players make sense, but many of them don’t make much sense either. Whether it’s because of cap or just because the player doesn’t work with the team, there are many rumored players who aren’t going to come to Tampa. Here are the players who have been talked about the most in trade talks with the Lightning.

John Klingberg D (1G 25A 26P): This trade isn’t very likely, especially if the Lightning plan to keep Klingberg after this season if he wants to extend his contract. With how bad the defensive market is right now, Klingberg could be destined to make $9m AAV. It’s more likely to see the Lightning skip over Klingberg then to risk it.

Calvin De Haan D (1G 4A 5P): This one also doesn’t seem too likely with Tampa’s cap issues, as De Haan has a $4.55m cap hit. This is, however, more likely than a Klingberg trade.

Ben Chiarot D (5G 6A 11P): Chiarot is a good choice for the Lightning if they can find the cap for him. With Chiarot only having a $3.5m cap hit, the Lightning could spare their first round pick and a player for him. That is, of course, assuming Tampa isn’t on the no-trade clause.

Rickard Rakell RW/LW (14G 11A 25P): Rakell would be a great addition to an already stacked offense for the Lightning. Rakell has a $3.78m cap hit, and with the Anaheim Ducks actively shopping him, it wouldn’t be the worst cost to get him.

Will The Moves Get Lightning The Three-Peat?

It’s hard to tell how well a trade will work until the season ends. Even then, however, it’s hard to tell until after the playoffs. David Savard, the Lightning’s 2021 trade deadline pickup, was very helpful in the playoffs and assisted for the Stanley Cup winning goal. Any of these four players will help the team a ton, but it’s more likely that Rakell or Chiarot head to Tampa, as they have safer contracts and would be cheaper than Klingberg and De Haan if the Lightning and select player can agree on a safe contract for both parties.

Will these moves guarantee a cup for the Lightning? Not at all. Nothing can solidify a cup win for any team, even if a team has the best players of all time on one team. Any team can win the cup, and Tampa fans can only hope that they see the same Lightning team that they did in both the 2020 and 2021 postseason. If anything, it helps with the chances at a cup, but nothingh will guarantee a cup.

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