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Lightning Round: prices going up ahead of Trade Deadline

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David Savard? Linus Ullmark?? Taylor Hall???

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Tampa Bay Lightning
Apr 1, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard (58) defends against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Amalie Arena.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Kyle Palmieri trade to the New York Islanders has kicked off the NHL Trade Deadline this season. The fact that the New Jersey Devils were able to get a first round pick for the aging winger seems to indicate prices might be higher than the original buyer’s market would’ve led teams to believe. Now, the scarcity on cap space has made it harder for teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs, who were originally in on Palmieri, to make a competitive deal with another team.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are in a similar boat to the Leafs in that they both have very little cap space heading into the deadline. For various reasons, the Leafs weren’t able to accrue very much cap space by the deadline (they have approx. $1.7 million), while the Lightning have less than $400k in their LTIR pool. This means trades will have to be dollar in, dollar out.

While the Leafs and Boston Bruins have been getting linked to star commodity Taylor Hall in Buffalo, rumors around the Bolts have been getting louder in recent days as goaltender Linus Ullmark, also on the Sabres, has been thought about as a potential backup in Tampa Bay, replacing Curtis McElhinney. David Savard from the Columbus Blue Jackets has also been linked to the Lightning to help augment an ever-thinning defense.

While we’ve only had one trade of significance up to this point, the ball has continued to roll as the Florida Panthers bought some cap space in a trade with Chicago. In it, Syracuse Crunch defenseman Riley Stillman was traded along with former Lightning forward Brett Connolly and an older, unsigned prospect in Henrik Borgstrom to the Hawks for Lucases Wallmark and Carlsson. Florida found $3.5 million in cap space in trading Connolly —actually less because Connolly had been waived and on the taxi squad, with $1.05 million of his contract buried in the minors.

You can find more tidbits about the deadline in this article from LeBrun at the Athletic, or in TSN’s episode of Insider Trading.

Lightning Links

Steven Stamkos might be injured, hopefully it’s not a big deal, but if he’s out for a while, welcome to the team Taylor Hall!

Lightning prospect Cole Koepke scored in the NCAA Men’s Frozen Four semifinals for the University of Minnesota Duluth. UMD eventually lost the game in overtime to UMass. Koepke’s season is over, so there’s potential for him to join the Syracuse Crunch on an ATO.

The Vancouver Canucks think they’re all COVID’d out, with the whole team having tested positive. The league now believes the team can start playing games again in a week. I think they’re being very optimistic.

The Canucks also signed Tanner Pearson, giving them $17 million in cap space with 12 roster players for next season with both Elias Pettersson and Luke Hughes unsigned. Basically, Jim Benning has screwed himself.