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Lightning Round: Trusting in the process

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I’m skeptical about the trade, but it’s time to trust in JBB.

2020 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

I’ll be the first to admit that when I first heard the rumors, probably about a month or so ago, that the Lightning were eyeballing David Savard as a possible acquisition, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. I may have even written that they shouldn’t do it just a few days ago. The deed is now done, however, and it’s time to see if Julien BriseBois has the magic tough for the second year in a row.

Part of my apprehension was that, prior to Saturday, the prevailing wisdom was that any deal to bring in the big ol’ defenseman would likely have cost a roster player to create the cap space as well as a prospect or first round pick. JBB, managed to keep his roster intact thanks to his old mentor Steve Yzerman picking up a quarter of Savard’s cap hit. That assuages my initial dislike just a bit. Now if he turns around and signs Savard to a 6-year, $30 million extension we’ll have to have another discussion, but for now I’m okay with the price he paid.

Look, first-round picks are nice. They’re sexy. They generate a lot of content in the offseason. When they come down to it, they are nothing more than a lottery ticket. When a team is in a window to win multiple Stanley Cups, they are nothing more than an asset to improve the current roster. Drafting a kid with the 28th or 30th pick may help your farm system, but the chances of them being an impact player in the next two or three seasons is extremely minimal. So, if a GM can turn that pick into a player that helps now he has to use it.

If the core of the Lightning was approaching their mid-30’s I’d also be a little more leery. However, the main unit of Tampa Bay is still in their productive years. Brayden Point is 25. Anthony Cirelli is 23. Mikhail Sergachev is 22. Andrei Vasilevskiy is 26. Even the “old” guys like Steven Stamkos (31) and Victor Hedman (30) still have productive years left in them.

So while Mr. BriseBois did his farm system no favors in terms of rankings, that’s not a huge deal. They seem to have the right pieces to plug in around their big guns to keep things going. With the roster they have they are cup contenders for the next couple of seasons. That’s even if they have to jettison productive pieces like Alex Killorn or/and Tyler Johnson.

If anything, I’m more worried about the third and fourth-round picks he gave up to make the deal happen. After all, they seem to do alright with those picks. The good news is, picks in those middle rounds are likely to be recouped in any deals they have to make in order to become cap-compliant. Chances are they may end up with higher picks in those rounds depending on which team they make the deals with.

I’ve learned not to doubt JBB. So far in his tenure he’s pulled the right strings and the Lightning have reached the mountaintop. He told the media that he would feel terrible if he didn’t put the team in the best possible position to defend the title. They needed a right-side defenseman and David Savard is definitely one of those.

Lightning Links

Michael McCarron suspended two games

As we expected, McCarron will not be around for Tuesday’s game against the Lightning. The forward was suspended for two games (Sunday and Tuesday) for his hit to the head of Yanni Gourde in the waning seconds of Saturday’s game. Congrats to the Department of Player Safety for getting this one correct.

Tampa’s cap-circumventing trade yet another reason to hate Florida

This article is rather impressive as it manages to complain about Florida taxes, Nikita Kucherov’s injury, Tom Brady’s Super Bowl, and politics all in one. I think those folks in Toronto really need a Stanley Cup (or a first round win) so that they can stop worrying about other markets.

Tufto saw in Lightning what he saw in Quinnipiac

The recent college free agent signing by the Lightning could be the next undersized forward to make his way to the NHL.

NHL News

Dad, did you get traded?

Derek Ryan has been through this before. A nice look at what it’s like to be a player on the trade bubble.

Habs acquire Jon Merrill

After waiving young blueliner Victor Mete earlier in the day, the Canadiens went out and picked up a veteran defenseman from Detroit in Jon Merrill. It cost them a 5th round pick and Hayden Verbeek (nephew of Red Wings Assistant GM, Pat Verbeek).

Devils acquire Jonas Siegenthaler

The Devils may not be in the playoff hunt, but that didn’t prevent them from getting in on the Deadline Day Eve fun. They picked up young defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler for a conditional third round pick from the Washington Capitals. The Swiss-born defender was crowded out of playing time in D.C. and will get a shot to play a little more with the Devils.

Blue Jackets trade Nick Foligno to Toronto

GM Jarmo Kekalainen’s plan to force coach John Tortorella to play skill guys by trading away all of the gritty, gutty players that make Tort’s heart flutter continued on Sunday as the Blue Jackets traded captain Nick Foligno to Toronto and received a first-round and fourth-round pick. The Leafs filtered his contract through San Jose to save on the cap hit and the Sharks received a fourth-round pick while Toronto also received Stefan Nosen.

Florida Panthers sign Sergei NIkita Gusev

The Lightning’s buddies down south eschewed the trade route and added former Tampa Bay prospect Sergei Gusev by signing him to a one-year contract. The talented forward had been waived by the Devils on Saturday. With the Panthers recent success with free agent forwards (see Verhaeghe, Carter and DuClair, Anthony) this could be an interesting addition.