The Tampa Bay Lightning have traded goaltender Connor Ingram to the Nashville Predators for a 2021 seventh round pick. The news has not been confirmed by either team but is posted on the NHL.com trade tracker, which lists confirmed transactions.
Ingram was originally drafted by the Lightning in the third round, 88th overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft from the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL. After spending another season with Kamloops and winning a Silver Medal at the 2017 U20 World Junior Championships for Team Canada, Ingram made his professional debut in 2017-18.
Ingram has played a total of 57 career AHL games plus four playoff games. He’s also appeared in 16 ECHL games and 10 playoff games for the Adirondack Thunder and Orlando Solar Bears in the ECHL. During the 2017-18 season, he sported a .914 SV% in 35 games for the Crunch and improved to a .922 SV% in 22 games this year. He was called up to the Lightning and dressed as a backup during the 2018-19 season, but has yet to make his NHL debut.
Controversy came about, however, when Ingram was assigned to the Solar Bears. He was a healthy scratch for three Crunch games with Eddie Pasquale and Martin Ouellette playing instead just prior to his demotion to the ECHL. This all came after Ingram was having a fine year and was named to the 2019 AHL All-Star Team. When Ouellette went down with a broken leg, Ingram was recalled to the Crunch and reportedly had a talk with General Manager Julien BriseBois. After that, he was sent back to Orlando without playing for the Crunch.
Many rumors have gone around about Ingram’s issues. The team and Ingram have never disclosed what the issues were other than stating they were keeping the matter internal. That’s standard operating procedure for this franchise. However, many of the rumors have centered around attitude and work ethic issues. We don’t know what really happened, but there was certainly a rift between Ingram and the organization and it appears that rift could not be healed.
The hard part about this trade is that it seems the Lightning had no leverage. Front offices around the league likely know a lot more about what went on. Knowing that the rift between player and organization was unlikely to be mended, that left the Lightning in a position to take whatever they could get for him. For a prospect that was once viewed as being at least a solid back-up at the NHL level and was playing very well in the AHL, the Lightning got practically nothing for him. Basically peanuts.
Seventh round picks already have very little value, but when they are three drafts away, their value is minuscule. Ingram had one year remaining on his Entry Level Contract and could have been bought out. Or the team could have banished him to the ECHL for a whole year to finish out his contract.
There is the possibility that whatever the issue is, he won’t get over it. That it will keep him from reaching the NHL and being a success. But if he does and matures into what we thought he could be, it’ll be even harder to look back at this trade and how little the Lightning got in return. Only time will tell how well this will turn out.
But hey, at least he wasn’t traded for Future Considerations?