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The Tampa Bay Lightning Joni Pitkanen Trade Tree

Wait... who?

NHL Awards Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images/NHLI

Alright, I know what you’re thinking after you read the title. “I don’t remember Joni Pitkanen playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning.”

You would be correct. Pitkanen was selected fourth overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers. Pitkanen played in the NHL for 535 games with 282 points for the Flyers, Edmonton Oilers, and Carolina Hurricanes. He won an AHL Championship during the 2004-05 lockout and won a Bronze Medal at the Olympics for Team Finland in 2010.

So... why are we talking about the Joni Pitkanen trade tree? Well, the Lightning traded that fourth overall pick to the Flyers! Pitkaknen ended up having a pretty decent career, but it wasn’t as good, or as long, as the three players selected before him: Rick Nash, Kari Lehtonen, and Jay Bouwmeester. The players that followed don’t exactly have super star written on them either, though many had 500+ game careers. But the trade was still a bit controversial at the time for the Lightning.

Let’s go through though and figure out how the Lightning actually came out in the deal.

Lightning trade 2002 first round pick, 4th overall, to the Philadelphia Flyers for Ruslan Fedotenko and two 2002 second round picks, 34th and 52nd overall.

This trade happened at the draft and, as I said, was a bit controversial. The Lightning were giving up a top pick for a player coming off a 26 point season after a 36 point rookie season. They did get back the two second round picks, though, to partly make up for it. Fedotenko’s value in this trade is roughly that of a mid-first round pick.

Fedotenko Branch

The Fedotenko Branch doesn’t go very far. He played four seasons for the Lightning and then left as an unrestricted free agent to the New York Islanders. The Lightning got 313 games, 74 goals, and 144 points out of Fedotenko. Oh, and the Stanley Cup winning goals in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. So, that’s definitely a plus.

34th Overall Pick Branch

The next day, general manage Jay Feaster went back to work, trading the 34th overall pick for Brad Lukowich and a 2003 seventh Round pick.

Lukowich eventually left as an unrestricted free agent after just two years, 149 games, and 34 points. Lukowich did come back to the Lightning in 2007-08 and was traded away with Dan Boyle.

The 2003 seventh round pick turned into forward Jay Rosehill. He never made it to the NHL with the Lightning, but played 117 career games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers. He was traded to the Maple Leafs for the most traded asset in league history: Future Considerations.

Yeah. We got nothing for him.

52nd Overall Pick Branch

Feaster didn’t waste any more time with the 52nd overall pick than he did with the 34th overall pick. Feaster traded it to the San Jose Sharks for the 60th overall pick in the second round and the 162nd overall pick in the fifth round.

With the 60th overall pick, Feaster selected Adam Henrich. Henrich never made it to the NHL and played three seasons for the Lightning’s AHL affiliate Springfield Falcons, but spent almost as much time in the ECHL with the Johnstown Chiefs.

With the 162nd overall pick, the Lightning selected Gerard Dicaire. Dicaire was a redraft after having been drafted in the 2nd round in 2002 but not signed by the Buffalo Sabres. He spent an overaged season in the WHL and then a few years in the AHL before leaving professional hockey.

Overall Gain

  • 313 games, 144 points, and 1 Stanley Cup from Ruslan Fedotenko.
  • 149 games, 34 points, and 1 Stanley Cup from Brad Lukowich.
  • A little bit of minor league hockey from three players
  • Future Considerations

Considering what Fedotenko and Lukowich did for the Lightning in earning a Stanley Cup, and how Pitkanen’s career went, I’d say the Lightning did alright. Would have been nice to see Feaster do a little bit more with those other draft picks, but what can be done about that? Nothing. At least he has a Stanley Cup ring and his name on the trophy.