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Tampa Bay Lightning Trade Rumors: Dreger says Bolts called about Wayne Simmonds and Micheal Ferland

Could the Bolts really be looking to add a forward?!?

NHL: Boston Bruins at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

According to Darren Dreger, the Tampa Bay Lightning have at least checked in with the Philadephia Flyers and Carolina Hurricanes about trading for forwards Wayne Simmonds and Micheal Ferland. He reported the news during a radio spot in Montreal. Below is part of transcription from Chris Nichols who has the full context on his blog.

“Believe it or not, I think Tampa Bay has inquired on Wayne Simmonds and on Mike Ferland. I can see both of those players - you can’t get them both, but if Tampa Bay were able to find a way to add one of those pieces, that would be a nice little add for them. Little bit more bite in their lineup. Both of those guys can comfortably play in your top-six or worst case top-nine. But to have a player like that, a power forward who can play throughout your lineup up and down, would be a premium type of asset.

Dreger also said later that the team might be interested in another defender, which seems even more farfetched than the idea of trading for another forward.

Simmonds and Ferland are at different points in their careers. Ferland is twenty six years old and still in his prime. Simmonds is thirty and winding down. Both players have expiring contracts and will be unrestricted free agents this summer, which is why they’re available on the trade market. Simmonds likely won’t make sense for a Flyers team that will need some restructuring under new General Manager Chuck Fletcher. Ferland is reportedly asking for more money than Carolina is willing to pay on an extension.

Both are players who have been getting attention on the trade market. But they have different things to contribute to an acquiring team. Simmonds has undoubtedly had the better career of the two. Ferland will likely never have seasons as good as Simmonds did at his peak. But at this point, Ferland is the better player. Simmonds was basically replacement level last year posting a -0.1 WAR according to Evolving Hockey and is on a slightly worse pace this year. Ferland put up 1.1 WAR last season and is on a similar pace this year. That makes him a solid middle six forward.

If the Lightning are interested in adding one of the two, Ferland would be the obvious choice. As much as I’m a fan of Wayne Simmonds, I don’t think he’s the player he was two seasons ago and doesn’t make sense as an addition to the Lightning the way he did when the team lacked size and was desperate for a net front presence on the power play. The Bolts now have plenty of physicality in their lineup and their power play is the best in the league.

But beyond the question of which forward would make more sense as a trade deadline addition, the bigger question is whether the Lightning should be adding anyone at all. As of now, my answer to that would be firmly in the negative.

Adding Ferland (or Simmonds) would mean bumping both Adam Erne and Mathieu Joseph from the forward rotation. Both Erne and Joseph have put up almost identical WAR numbers to Ferland this season in far fewer minutes. Ferland is at best a modest upgrade over either and I would argue, a downgrade. Paying to acquire a player to replace players who are better and were developed internally seems a bad strategy.

The only argument I can see in favor of a move like this is to create as deep a forward group as possible in a bid to go all in and try to win a Cup this season. I can understand that idea to an extent but if the team gets so deep that they’re sending an obvious NHL player like Joseph back to Syracuse to make roster space and press boxing Adam Erne every night, that can become a problem. Especially if all of that is happening to create minutes for a player who won’t be re-signed next season as would be the case with either Ferland or Simmonds.

Waiving Danick Martel to make room also seems unlikely at this point as the team instructed him to get an apartment in Tampa. They’ve invested this much of the season into carrying him to be able to keep him beyond this season that waiving him doesn’t seem to be an option.

The Lightning front office has already created an exceptionally deep roster. They paid a hefty price in draft picks and prospects last year to add Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller to round out that depth. Simmonds and Ferland are both intriguing but on a team with this much forward talent, they would be superfluous. Giving up more draft picks and/or prospects to acquire even more luxurious depth isn’t the best use of resources for a team that needs to be smart if they want to keep their Cup window open for as long as possible.

Despite the rumors, I still expect the Lightning to stand pat at the trade deadline. Very few of the players on the market represent a meaningful upgrade on the players already in the lineup. And those that would be are cost prohibitive. Sometimes the best course of action is to simply stay the course. And unless something drastic changes, like multiple long-term injuries, I think that’s the case for the Lightning this trade season.