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Lightning Round: Trading for the sake of trading doesn’t make sense

Yes, there are some small holes in the roster, but would the price they pay be more detrimental in the long run.

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NHL: MAR 21 Panthers at Lightning Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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.

Lightning Links

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