The Tampa Bay Lightning have traded center Valtteri Filppula, a 2017 fourth-round pick, and a conditional seventh-round pick to the Philadelphia Flyers for defenseman Mark Streit. Philadelphia Flyers are also reportedly retaining 4.7% of Streit’s salary which is a little less than $250,000.
With the center depth that the Lightning have, and which will be bolstered once Steven Stamkos returns to the lineup, Steve Yzerman had been looking to move veteran center Valtteri Filppula. Reports have been out for several weeks that Filppula was available. After a down year last season, Filppula has bounced back nicely this season with 34 points in 59 games, which is already three points more than he had last season in 76 games.
In return, the Lightning take on 39-year-old right-handed defenseman Mark Streit. Streit has a salary cap hit of $5.25 million this season, which is only $250,000 more than Filppula’s, but that is negated by the 4.7% salary retention by Philadelphia. He’s also an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Streit reportedly had a list of 10 teams he would accept a trade to, and the Lightning were one of those teams.
[Update:] Ignore this next paragraph as the Lightning have traded Mark Streit to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In the short term, the Lightning pick up a right-handed defenseman that can bolster the top 4 for the rest of the year. He has 21 points in 49 games, and has been averaging 19:23 TOI for Philly. He is a veteran of 765 career NHL games with 428 points. While he is old and has slowed down, he’s still got a little bit left in the tank to at least finish out this year for the Lightning.
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In the long term, the Lightning have moved Filppula’s salary commitment of $5 million for next season without retaining any salary. They had to take Streit back in this trade to make the salary work for the Flyers. While the Lightning have also given up a fourth and potentially a seventh-rounder to do so, it was worth the price. Despite Filppula’s year, it’s long been expected that Yzerman would have to give up something to get a team to take Filppula’s salary without retaining any for next season.
In addition to the salary cap benefits, they’ve also opened up a protection spot when the expansion draft comes. Raw Charge’s current projected list of protected players is Steven Stamkos, Ryan Callahan (due to his No Movement Clause requiring his protection), Jonathan Drouin, Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, Vladislav Namestnikov, Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman, one of Andrej Sustr or Slater Koekkoek, and Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Call this one a win for Yzerman. He got a little help this year if the Lightning do intend to continue their push towards the playoffs. And he has increased the chances of keeping the core of this team together next year, make changes for the better in the offseason, and improve the expansion draft outlook for Tampa.