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Daniel Walcott, welcome to Tampacuse

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The Tampa Bay Lightning traded the New York Rangers' own 7th round pick back in exchange for overage CHL D Daniel Walcott, who spent last season with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the QMJHL.

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It's an odd thing, a team participating in the Stanley Cup Final making a trade.

The Tampa Bay Lightning did just that yesterday, acquiring unsigned defenseman Daniel Walcott from the New York Rangers in exchange for the 7th round pick Tampa Bay had previously acquired from the Martin St. Louis-Ryan Callahan trade.

Walcott is not currently under contract, and considering the fact that the Rangers drafted him just a year ago (a 5th round pick in 2014), it seems they either had no intention of signing him to an ELC or could not due to the 50-man contract limit.

From a Lightning perspective, this trade can be viewed as moving an almost zero-value asset (a 7th round pick) for a quality depth defenseman that can slot in immediately in the top-4 for the Syracuse Crunch this fall. While Walcott has just 1 AHL game of experience under his belt, he's 21 years old and has logged huge minutes in the QMJHL over the past two seasons, playing in all situations and showing some offensive acumen. He'll certainly help backfill the hole left by Nikita Nesterov's ascension into regular playing time with the Lightning over the last month and half of the regular season and into the playoffs, and is further along in his development than any D drafted last year or this summer in Sunrise.

His numbers in the Q are solid:

In January, he came in at number 19 on Blue Shirt Banter's prospect rankings, rising 8 spots from the previous list. From their write-up:

Head Coach Joel Bouchard can't say enough good things about Walcott ... CHL Stats estimates that he averages 31:55 of icetime every night ... He eats up a lot of even strength minutes and is matched against the opposition's top line. He's on the first unit of the PK and PP. He's out late in games whether his team needs a goal or is trying to protect a lead. He's an unbelievable skater and carries the puck well.

He needs to bulk up if he's going to hold up at higher levels, but I have no doubt he's committed to making that happen. At this point I think he's done enough to merit an entry-level contract and I'm sure he'll be pro in the Rangers' system next season.

Essentially, Walcott plugs an organizational hole (a top-4 minute muncher for Syracuse with some offensive upside) at little cost. The ceiling isn't incredibly high on Walcott; he may never make the NHL, and if he does, it's likely as a bottom pairing guy, but it's a very low-risk move that helps the AHL team straight away. Walcott is almost certainly better than anyone Tampa Bay would draft at the very end of the 7th round this year, which is where New York's pick will be.