In what initially appears to be a somewhat confusing move, the Lightning have claimed center Greg McKegg on waivers from the Florida Panthers. McKegg has played in 31 games this season, totaling six points split evenly between goals and assists. He doesn’t appear to offer much that the Lightning would want. Florida performed better with him off the ice than with him on the ice both in terms of shot and goal metrics, and he played fourth line minutes with the Panthers on the occasions when he did play.
The Lightning also have a ton of depth at center in the organization. Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, Brayden Point, Vladislav Namestnikov, Valtteri Filppula, Brian Boyle, and Cedric Paquette are all centers first. Unless this is part of another move (are we losing Brian Boyle?), coming up with the logic that would suggest the Lightning need another fourth-line center is difficult. Further, it seems the Lightning could easily trade several centers without being short in that area.
Players claimed on waivers typically stay in the NHL. If the Lightning were to try to send him to Syracuse, Florida could claim him and send him to directly to their AHL affiliate. Tampa also can’t trade him without first exposing him to the other teams who did not have a chance to claim him on waivers originally.
It appears that McKegg is going to be in Tampa. The reason why is anyone’s guess. We’ll likely have to wait and see how the next few days unfold before we truly have a clear view of what propelled the Lightning to this decision.
The most likely scenario is that he is serving as insurance should the Lightning trade more players before the deadline. The Crunch are poised to make a playoff run and the organization is hopefully cognizant of that. McKegg could serve as filler in Tampa to help keep Syracuse stocked for the AHL playoffs.
Whatever the reason, we welcome Greg McKegg as the newest member of the Lightning. If nothing else, that’s a pretty hilarious name with some solid pun potential. And you can’t put a price on that.