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Quick Strikes: The Lightning are so good, they don’t need rentals

The Lightning said NO to Wayne Simmonds and co.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Philadelphia Flyers
Feb 19, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Referee Graham Skiliter (24) signals no goal by the Philadelphia Flyers as Philadelphia Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds (17) and Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) look on during the third period at Wells Fargo Center.
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

The Tampa Bay Lightning are about as good as you’re going to get in the NHL right now. The superstars are on good contracts and the holes have been filled internally without having to pay for quick fixes five months into the season; there’s no pressure on this team to improve. There’s not much that was needed. Here’s why it’s okay that they steered clear of the infamous Trade Deadline. [Raw Charge]

Simmonds was the name most frequently connected to the Bolts. He eventually went to Nashville for Ryan Hartman and a 2020 fourth-round pick that becomes a third if the Predators wins a playoff series this season, which is likely. That would have been an easy offer to beat so the Lightning couldn’t have been that interested.

I think Saima put it pretty darn perfectly.

With some quotes from the team. [Tampa Bay Times]

The Lightning, from the front office to the coaching staff to the dressing room, believes it has a core group of about 11 players that has lived everything there is to live this side of a championship, a veritable mixed grill, and that these experiences and lessons learned will matter mightily this postseason.

The Lightning started strong, but allowed the lowly Los Angeles Kings to come back and force a shootout. Luckily, the Bolts ended up on top and finished the night with a 48-11-4 record, which is good enough for 100 points in the season. The next closest team in the league is 15 points back. [Raw Charge]

Winning in the National Hockey League is hard—that much is indisputable. Given that the Lightning have managed to win 48 of their first 63 games, it should go without saying that this team has been near unstoppable this season. This evening showed us that even when the Lightning aren’t at their best, they can still win games. Yes, it was against the 30th ranked team in the league, but at the end of the day what matters are the two points. With a 4-3 shootout victory over the Los Angeles Kings, the Lightning accomplished two feats—extending their win streak to nine games and being the first team in the league to hit 100 points. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 31 saves while Jack Campbell made 30.

Transgender hockey star Harrison Browne spent the day in Tampa Bay and with the Lightning on You Can Play Day. It was really cool to see him at the game. The Bolts did a good job with Pride Night this year including a fun moment with a gay couple on the kiss cam!

This is a must-watch video.

The Prospects

LOOK AT THE BABY CONACHER!!!! LOOK AT HIS WITTLE SMILE!!! OMG I’M GOING TO DIEEE!!!

The Syracuse Crunch are looking to make their carbon footprint smaller with a new sponsor.

Otherwise, none of the prospects moved, because they didn’t need to, because Tampa Bay has the best organization in hockey.

And here’s an update from the ECHL Orlando Solar Bears.

The Game

Looking around the league, here is what Tampa Bay’s Eastern rivals did on Trade Deadline Day.

Boston Bruins

Marcus Johansson was traded from New Jersey to Boston in exchange for a 2019 second- and a 2020 fourth-round pick. [Stanley Cup of Chowder]

With the dust settled, we can take stock of the comings and goings. Ryan Donato and a few draft picks have been sent out of town, while Charlie Coyle, Marcus Johansson and Lee Stempniak have arrived as stretch run reinforcements.

Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs swapped Par Lindholm for Winnipeg’s Nic Petan, along with a few moves for the Crunch’s rival Toronto Marlies. [Pension Plan Puppets]

The Leafs seem to be running a very specific fourth line structure where they spend all their time in the offensive zone, but don’t create. Petan, at least, seems capable if they get stuck in the wrong part of town. If he works out, his salary expectations will be more in line with what the Leafs can actually afford next year.

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins traded Tanner Pearson for one of the worst defensemen in the league. No, not Chris Wideman, Erik Gudbranson. [Pensburgh]

Of the 232 defenders that have logged at least 1,000 minutes of 5-on-5 hockey since the start of the 2016-17 season, Gudbranson has the fourth worst shot attempt numbers in the league. He is last in scoring chance differential. He is the fifth-worst in high-danger scoring chance differential. He is third worst in goal differential.

Washington Capitals

The Capitals didn’t do anything on Deadline Day as they did their work over the weekend, trading for Nick Jensen for Madison Bowey and a second-round pick. They also landed Carl Hagelin. [Washington Post]

While the rest of the NHL went down to the wire of Monday’s trade deadline, the Washington Capitals’ war room was quiet. General Manager Brian MacLellan picked up the phone a handful of times, but he mostly just monitored what other teams were up to. He had made two trades to bring in defenseman Nick Jensen and winger Carl Hagelin days earlier, and he ultimately decided this roster could win the Stanley Cup for the second straight season.

Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets were big spenders and will probably skip the 2019 NHL Draft entirely at this point. They only have a third and Calgary’s seventh after trading for Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel, Keith Kinkaid, and Adam McQuaid over the past few days. [The Cannon]

Colin Cudmore: There’s a tricky balance here, because although I would’ve loved to see Duchene in a Sens jersey for years to come, I also recognize that this was probably the right time to trade him. That said, it was the Senators that put themselves in this situation to begin with, by not showing financial commitment to their players, and creating an environment where nobody in the NHL wants to be putting on a Sens jersey. You may have heard a thing or two of our fickle owner Eugene Melnyk, and like everything Sens-related, it all traces back to him.

For an in-depth perspective on every trade made at the Deadline, go have a look at the SB Nation supergroup. The list of articles is wild.