The Tampa Bay Lightning have traded two-time Stanley Cup Champion Tyler Johnson and a 2023 second round pick to Chicago for Brent Seabrook’s contract the night before NHL free agency opens. The trade now puts the Lightning below the cap ceiling on a projected roster of 23 players. Julien BriseBois has done it again.
Seabrook, who came back in the trade, makes $6.875 million against the cap for the next three seasons, but will be placed on LTIR, giving the Lightning that much room each year during the season as relief. Essentially, his contract is moot.
The second round pick in 2023 as compensation for taking TJ is considerably less than what we originally feared. Last summer it was going to be a first round pick. BriseBois was able to get that number down thanks to Johnson’s play this season and an agitated Chicago team that very clearly wants to fill the news cycle with everything but their sexual harassment scandal.
Tyler Johnson The Player and The Person
An undrafted free agent out of the WHL, Tyler Johnson joined the Norfolk Admirals in 2011-12 and won the Calder Cup in his first year with Jon Cooper, Ondrej Palat, and Alex Killorn. Those three men can never stop talking about that AHL season, even after winning two Stanley Cups together.
After his second season in the AHL, Johnson was promoted to the Tampa Bay Lightning, quickly developing the Triplets line with Palat and Nikita Kucherov. They were unstoppable in 2014 and the 2015 Stanley Cup run. If Johnson hadn’t been dealing with a wrist issue in that final series, who knows what could have happened. Even after Brayden Point replaced TJ on that line, he was still a valuable member of the team’s middle six — scoring nearly 30 goals for a second time in 2019. He played wing in 2020, and took on the role of 4C without complaint — and even elevating it to basically another third line — in the 2021 Cup run.
We’re going to miss TJ, but this trade was necessary due to the cap, as was losing Gourde to Seattle. Nine years, they really flew by.