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Updated: Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defender Zach Bogosian

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Let’s hope this only a short-term fill in.

Colorado Avalanche v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Sara Schmidle/NHLI via Getty Images

According to Pierre LeBrun, the Lightning are reportedly interested in signing Zach Bogosian, who recently became a free agent after agreeing to a contract termination with the Buffalo Sabres. While we don’t have any additional details, it seems likely this is related to Erik Cernak suffering an injury last night in Arizona.

We wrote this morning about all of the options for the Lightning to replace Cernak if he’s going to be out long term. Bogosian is not one of the more appealing options based on his recent play in Buffalo. He’s been around replacement level for years now, both with the Winnipeg Jets and the Sabres.

Bogosian has played just 19 games this season, posting five points. He played 65 games last year and scored 19 points. He’s had poor impacts both defensively and offensively over the last two seasons. From a statistical standpoint, there’s not much to like. For reference, here’s the chart from our article this morning comparing all of the trade deadline options. Blue indicates that a player is performing well in that metric while orange indicates they’re performing poorly. All data is via Evolving Hockey.

If the Lightning are planning on Bogosian playing big minutes down the stretch, this would seem like hardly an upgrade on the internal options. He’s played at about the same level as Braydon Coburn this season. He would be a slight upgrade on Luke Schenn but that’s not much of an endorsement. His chart for this season doesn’t show an area where he’s been an above-average contributor aside from racking up a few points in limited minutes.

Best-case scenario, we’ll find out tomorrow that Cernak’s injury won’t keep him out much longer than a few weeks and Bogosian is being considered an option to avoid having to call up another player from Syracuse. With Ryan McDonagh and Jan Rutta already injured, the Lightning are extremely short on the blue line and Bogosian would at least give them another body to get through this stretch until McDonagh and Rutta return. After that, he could serve as depth for the playoff run giving the team a plethora of borderline NHL defenders should they suffer multiple injuries in the postseason.

The Lightning have had success with seemingly confusing moves on defense in the past. The Dan Girardi signing, for example, worked out much better than anyone (including me) expected. Even so, the only way this tracks is if the team is looking for a temporary stopgap while multiple players are injured. In that case, it does makes more sense than expending additional draft picks or prospects to acquire short-term help. But if the team is considering Bogosian as a long-term option, that would seem suboptimal at the least.


Darren Dreger reports that the deal is done. Everything above still applies. We’ll know more about the reasoning for the move when we get the news on Cernak’s injury.