It’s the busiest time of the year for NHL general managers as they have a month to figure out where they stand in the playoff race and if it’s time to go all in and make the deal that could propel their team to the Stanley Cup. Julien BriseBois is on record as saying that it’s unlikely the Tampa Bay Lightning will make any big moves, but let’s be honest, shading the truth is part of a GM’s job. If he can make the money work, you know he’ll do all he can to to makes the Lightning better.
One of my favorite parts of this time of year is that folks start posting the media lists of scouts attending various games. It’s really the one time of the year where we find out who is scouting for whom. For instance:
Scouts on the attendance list for tonight's Coyotes-Kings game. pic.twitter.com/tWsNQXgAbH— Craig Morgan (@CraigSMorgan) February 20, 2022
Expect the Arizona Coyotes to be a popular target for other teams to try and work a deal with, not only for their players, but also for their cap space. Much like the Lightning working with the Red Wings to siphon off some of David Savard’s cap hit last season, the Coyotes could use their cap space (CapFriendly estimates their deadline cap space at about $34 million) to broker deals and pick up some more prospects or draft capital.
Defenseman Jacob Chychrun will likely be one of the top names teams will be calling Arizona about and he could pull in quite a haul. While Phil Kessel hasn’t had the numbers the last couple of seasons that one expects out of him, he could be an intriguing options for teams searching for scoring depth, especially if Arizona retains 50% of his salary.
Outside of Arizona look for Claude Giroux to be on the move as the Philadelphia Flyers season has cratered. He does have a full no-movement clause so he’ll get to pick his destination if he wants out of Philly. There are a lot of defensive options that could be on the trade market like John Klingberg, Mark Giordano, and Calvin de Haan.
It’ll be an interesting month as teams jockey for position. Look forward to my second favorite tradition during trade season - the “Player X is not on the ice for the morning skate” Tweets followed by speculation that they are either injured or getting traded.
Lightning / NHL News:
‘I can’t believe this is my baby’ [The Athletic]
Alex Barre-Boulet may be stuck in the longest goalless streak of his AHL career, but that’s not the number one thing on his mind these days. Last Wednesday, Barre-Boulet and his wife, Anne-Marie, welcomed their first son into the world. Zack now greets BB every time he goes home in Syracuse and that can put a smile on anyone’s face no matter how the night on the ice went.
Stadium Series sparks nostalgia for Lightning [Tampa Bay Times]
As with all of these outdoor games, it’s time for the childhood pond hockey stories. Since it’s the Lightning’s first time playing without a roof as a team only six players have done this at the NHL level so far. Ryan McDonagh leads the way having appeared in three previous games with the Rangers (as well as an outdoor game for Wisconsin).
Crunch announce contest to see Tampa Bay in person [LocalSYR.com]
Do you live in New York and want a chance to see the Lightning in person? The Crunch and Labatt have teamed up to provide one fan and their guest a trip to Tampa to see the Bolts live and in person (also included is a tour of Amalie Arena).
Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley will headline the entertainment and are scheduled to perform after the first period. Their are likely to be other performers announced as the week rolls on.
Ducks part ways with Dave Nonis [The Athletic]
Once Bob Murray resigned last year, it was only a matter of time until Assistant General Manager Dave Nonis would leave. Now that Pat Verbeek is in place as the General Manager Nonis is out. Chances are he won’t be out of work long.
Emile Francis passes away at age 95 [The New York Times]
The Hall of Fame coach and general manager of the New York Rangers still holds the club record for games coached (654) and wins (342). According to his autobiography Phil Esposito said that Francis gave hims some advice that he never forgot. When Phil was hired as the GM of the Rangers, Francis called him and congratulated him. Then he told him, “You’ve been hired, and from this point on they are going to try and fire you.” Which pretty much sums up the life of a General Manager.