On Sunday, the Tampa Bay Lightning traded Matthews Spencer for Devante Stephens. Spencer was a second round pick in 2015 from the OHL but has quickly fizzled as a prospect in the past few years. The Buffalo Sabres drafted Stephens in the fifth round of the same year out of the Kelowna Rockets.
We have acquired defenseman Devante Stephens from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for defenseman Matt Spencer.https://t.co/weBisdx8mv— Bolts (@TBLightning) November 25, 2019
Both defensemen were in the ECHL this year and are likely to stay at that level through this trade. Stephens is a left-handed defenseman, while Spencer is a righty. That’s about all I got from this trade. It sounds like a lateral, “change of scenery” move for both players who will be RFAs in the summer.
Here’s an article from New Year’s Eve 2018 on Stephens becoming a reliable defenseman in the ECHL. Stephens focused on getting ice time at the AA level and using it to develop his skills. Who knows, perhaps the Syracuse Crunch will give him a shot at some point this season.
“He’s got a lot of raw ability, but his skating is certainly his No. 1 asset,” Thomas said. “I think like all players, when he’s in that zone, and you couple that with his skating, that’s when you really see him jump up into the play and create offense in his game.”
This trade leads me to a question I have for the comments and on social media. When you heard that the Lightning made a trade, what did you hope it was? What do you think the Lightning need in order to improve this season? Sure, they’re in a playoff spot, but it’s not where they need to be. If you got the opportunity to make one change surrounding this team, what would you do?
Here’s my answer.
I would fire the coach. I think this team needs a jolt and I think the only way it can happen is if there’s a new voice bringing in new stakes into the room. These players are great on paper, they just need a push.
But even then, I’m averse to making changes to this team because they have everything they need to win — there’s no need to mix it all up and potentially make it worse for the sake of change. There’s a sense of family within the organization that I admire and I really want these guys to win a Stanley Cup for us, for themselves, and for each other. I don’t know how many more chances they have left, but I hope it’s at least one more.
But then again, it’s a business and you have to make the hard decisions when they’re the right ones.
I’m torn. Let me know what you think of potential trades and my internal dilemma.
In more ECHL news, Amanda Kessel’s brother Phil Kessel’s brother Blake Kessel signed a deal to return to the Orlando Solar Bears.
Highlights of the Night
Coyotes defending 101: fall down.
Pup action with Jakob Chychrun!
This was a really smart play from Sebastian Aho’s goal in the Carolina Hurricane’s 2-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Make the goalie look behind him and get the puck into a dangerous area with players crashing all in one motion. Really clever and it paid off for him.
Sebastian with the goal...and possibly the assist? pic.twitter.com/y14fY9JXJk— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) November 25, 2019
This goal in Buffalo’s 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers was pretty cool in its development, if you ignore Anton Stralman’s awful pinch that caught him chasing leading to a breakaway.
And that’s all I got. Hope you all have a great week!