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Lightning Round: Tampa trades some depth

Braydon Coburn and Cedric Paquette are on their way to Ottawa

New Jersey Devils v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images

After months of speculation as to who would have to be moved in order for the Tampa Bay Lightning to become cap compliant we finally found out on Sunday. The answer, at least for now, is defenseman Braydon Coburn and center Cedric Paquette. Both were sent to Ottawa for injured players Marian Gaborik and Anders Nilsson. The Lightning also paid the Senators a 2022 second round pick as a sweetener. That’s better than an actual prospect, I guess.

The deal puts the Lightning right at the cap limit (more on that later today) while boosting the total salaries on LTIR to just under $17 million. It’s a nice stop gap solution by Julien BriseBois to get under the cap while not sacrificing too much from the current roster. While Paquette and Coburn played important roles in the Bolts’ run to the Stanley Cup, there are players in the system that can replicate their production on the ice.

Mitchell Stephens should step into the fourth center role while the Lightning remain strong on the left side of the defense with Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh, and Mikhail Sergachev slotted into the line-up. The open spot on defense could give Cal Foote a shot at making the roster if he has a strong camp. It’s never fun to see players get traded for financial reasons, but it’s part of the business these days. Throwing in what should be a late second round pick stings a little, but that’s an asset that can be recovered in a future deal.

The Lightning’s roster is starting to take shape as they are just a week away from opening up their training camp.

Hockey News

It was Ottawa’s second trade over the holiday weekend as they acquired Derek Stepan from Arizona for a second round pick. The acquisition gives them a veteran presence up front to provide some leadership for the young players that should be cycling into the line-up this season. The Coyotes clear $6.5 million from their books. [Five for Howling]

Stepan’s deal expires after this current season, so to get a second round pick for a player on an expiring deal is an exceptional move and one that can help the team in more ways than one with training camp just a week away now.

Mike Hoffman is really good at scoring goals. He was also one of the marquee names on the free agent list this offseason. Instead of parlaying that offense into a long-term, high-money contract he signed a PTO with the St. Louis Blues. Chances are he signs an actual contract once the season starts and the Blues are using the PTO to get him into camp while they figure out their cap situation (they still need to sign RFA Vince Dunn and will probably LTIR Alex Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko). [St. Louis Gametime]

Hoffman has spent most of his career as an offensive threat, cracking 25 goals every complete season that he’s played in the NHL Last season, he lead the Florida Panthers with 29 goals scored, plus 30 assists. His output would go a long way to mitigate the loss of Vladimir Tarasenko for however long he will be out. Hoffman would be a nice compliment to 25 goal scorers David Perron and Brayden Schenn.

Sunday was the deadline for players to opt out of the 2020-21 season. It seems that Buffalo’s Casey Nelson has reportedly chosen that option. []

After twelve seasons in the NHL, veteran forward Mark Letestu is hanging up the skates. He scored 93 goals and added 117 assists in 567 games with the Penguins, Blue Jackets, Oilers, and Jets. [Illegal Curve Hockey]

He was signed by Winnipeg on the second day of free agency ahead of the 2019-20 season. Letestu would only lace up for seven games for the Jets before it was determined in October that he had myocarditis which would shut him down for six months.

One more week with no hockey to go. Hang in there!