On Monday, Joe Smith and Max Bultman from The Athletic got together and spitballed some possible trades between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Detroit Red Wings. On one hand it makes sense, the Red Wings have cap space and are rebuilding. They could shed some useful players in exchange for draft picks or prospects while absorbing a large contract as well. General Manager Steve Yzerman has a working knowledge of the Lightning’s pipeline since he was in charge when a bunch of the prospects were drafted. On the other hand, is it worth it for the Lightning to trade their future for Luke Glendening?
Let me go on the record here and state that I don’t think the Lightning will make any deals over the next three weeks (trade deadline is April 12th). There just seem to be too many factors going against it. First and foremost they don’t have a lot of cap space to mess around with. Second, even with some injuries this team is pretty well set. Third, they don’t have a lot in the cupboard to entice other teams. Other contenders would most likely be able to beat what the Lightning are offering.
Reports, mostly made by people who know more about the cap than I do, are that the Lightning have about $1 million in space that they can add. If they were to add someone they would probably want someone with an expiring contract since they will continue to have cap issues next season as well. Is there anyone out there at that price point that would be an improvement over who they already have? Probably not.
So, to add a difference maker, or even someone that would crack the line-up they would probably have to part with a roster player like Tyler Johnson. Yes, they could use some depth on the right-side of the defense, but at the cost of a top-nine forward it might not be worth it. Heck, they won a Stanley Cup with Zach Bogosian and Luke Schenn on the right side. Surely they can do it with Cal Foote and...well....Luke Schenn.
Weakening their strength (offensive depth) for a minimal upgrade in the defense isn’t worth it. There aren’t many teams that can roll out three lines that can score and shut down their opponents. Last season things were a little different, and they needed the depth that Barclay Goodrow and Blake Coleman provided (with the added bonus that Julien BriseBois knew they could be back for a second season).
Trading for Marc Staal or Luke Glendening (and sacrificing a top pick or prospect to do so) seems like making a trade for the sake of making a trade. The Bolts as currently constructed are good enough to win the Cup for a second time. This is the team that Mr. BriseBois and Mr. Yzerman built in order to win multiple cups, might as well let them try.
Speaking of sacrificing young talent, the Bolts aren’t exactly overflowing with draft picks or prospects that they can Godfather offer teams with. They have a nice collection of prospects that are projected to be bottom-six forwards. They don’t have a second round pick in either of the next two drafts and the only first round picks they have are their own. They do have two extra picks in the next draft, but the chances of them making a big deal with a couple of seventh rounders is slim and none.
At some point the Lightning are going to need to fill their roster with younger players like Taylor Raddysh or Boris Katchouk. They’ve done well so far with Ross Colton and Mitchell Stephens finding homes on the bottom lines. With the cap staying flat for the next couple of seasons, they’re going to need more of that, and trading away those prospects would make it that much more difficult to fill those holes.
Maybe the best move is to not make any moves at all. Of course, all of this goes out the door if they put Ryan McDonagh on LTIR until the playoffs and trade for Mattias Ekholm just to watch Hockey Twitter implode.
They are one of the few teams in the division that can match the Lightning line-for-line (thanks to some offseason additions like Carter Verhaeghe). Oh, and their coach knows a thing or two about winning Stanley Cups.
The Syracuse Crunch aren’t playing a lot due to some scheduling issues caused by COVID postponements. At least they’re winning when they do play. Hardev takes a look at some things they could do better despite the wins.
No first round pick, but they still walked away with Anthony Cirelli, Mitchell Stephens, and Mathieu Joseph. Not bad.
The Sabres lost again. That really isn’t news since it’s their 14th loss in a row.
They might be inline to lose 15 as they also lost another goaltender. Linus Ullmark has been injured for awhile (and is hopefully, back in a week). On Monday, Carter Hutton left the game with an apparent leg injury.
Carter Hutton leaves with an apparent left leg injury - a bad one.— John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) March 22, 2021
Starter Linus Ullmark is already sidelined.
Dustin Tokarski is in an NHL net for first time since October 2016. pic.twitter.com/iV0zamGBVu
Old friend Dustin Tokarski finished the game for the Sabres and will likely get the bulk of the starts over Michael Houser and Ukko-Pelle Luukkonen until Ullmark is ready to go.
Part of the recent T.V. rights agreement the NHL reached with ESPN grants the new broadcast partner rights in Latin America and the Caribbean. Several teams like the Los Angeles Kings, Vegas Golden Knights, and Chicago Blackhawks have started to make inroads to their Latino communities by broadcasting radio games in Spanish.
Some guy named Connor McDavid was the second star and Mika Zibanejad was the third star.
The last bastion has fallen. So far this season the North Division, based solely in Canada, had avoided postponing games due to COVID-19. That changed last night when the Montreal Canadiens/ Edmonton Oilers game was postponed due to a couple of members of the Montreal squad (Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Joel Armia) entering COVID protocols.
Unlike the Lightning, the Wild expect to be players at the trade deadline. Whether they are buyers due to their unexpected success this season (they are currently in a playoff spot) or sellers because this team isn’t what GM BIll Guerin expects it to be has yet to be determined.