The Tampa Bay Lightning have placed forward Tyler Johnson on waivers. It’s been known for a while that the Lightning have been seeking a trade partner for Johnson. It appears his No Trade Clause has been a bit of a hindrance. It’s been reported that Johnson, his agent, and the team have been working together to find a trade partner that he would agree to accept a trade to.
With Johnson being in full control of where he goes, it meant that Julien BriseBois has had little leverage in trade negotiations. Especially since every other team knows exactly what kind of cap situation the Lightning have created for themselves. If we were going to see a trade, then during the draft was the most likely time for it to happen.
A few people have pointed out that perhaps it could be for a buy-out. However, the buy-out period ended on October 8th. The Lightning would have needed to place him on waivers on October 7th to buy him out in time. I didn’t really think a buy-out was much of an option though as it would have only saved the Lightning about $2 million in cap space for 2020-21 and they really need all of his salary cap hit gone.
So what does this mean then? Well, it means that BriseBois has not been able to find a trade for Johnson with a team that he prefers. Maybe BriseBois had some offers from teams that were agreeable, but that Johnson no-sir’ed a trade to that team. If that’s the case, then BriseBois would know that there’s a team interested in him that would take him on waivers for free instead of whatever they offered him in a trade.
Tyler Johnson's camp had extended his list of teams to 7-8 for Tampa but the Bolts couldn't get a trade done. Now he's on waivers. He's got 4 x 5M aav left although his cash salary for next season is $3.75 M. Seattle-bound in a year?— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) October 9, 2020
With Johnson being placed on waivers, now any team in the NHL can claim him without giving up any assets. It does mean the Lightning would get nothing back for him, but it also gets them out of his salary cap hit, which is ultimately what the team needs. If no one claims him though, then the Lightning are right back where they were today at 11:59am before they put him on waivers. There’s long enough before the season, that him having passed through waivers won’t mean anything by the time we get to opening night.