Lets be honest. You thought he was done, didn’t you? You were sitting at home, enjoying a nice Sunday evening, maybe making some turkey meatballs (in a bench you can use graham cracker crumbs instead of bread crumbs as a binder), weren’t you? Let this be a lesson - Julien BriseBois is never done. Even if he has limited resources and next to no room under the salary cap, he’ll find a way to make a deal. That’s just what he did Sunday evening as he traded Mathieu Joseph to the Ottawa Senators for Nick Paul.
We have acquired forward Nick Paul from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for forward Mathieu Joseph and a fourth-round selection in 2024.https://t.co/G1NwayUymX— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) March 20, 2022
So who is Nick Paul (other than a guy with two first names, and my old man said to never trust a man with two first names)? He is a 6’3”, 224 lbs. center who has spent parts of seven seasons in the NHL, all with the Ottawa Senators. The 27-year-old has registered 66 points (29 goals, 37 assists) in 227 career games with a career-high 11 goals this season.
So, as you can see by those numbers, he’s being brought in to score goals. Not that they need him to do that, as they have plenty of other players to do so. Paul will likely slot in on the fourth line, either at center or at wing alongside Ross Colton and Brandon Hagel. He’ll see a lot less ice time with the Lightning than he did with the Senators, where he was averaging 17:22 a night.
The former Dallas Stars 4th-round pick has produced 9 goals at 5v5 against an expected 8.78 goals for the season with an 8.49 shooting percentage, so he’s not necessarily overachieving. Defensively he’s at an xGF% of 47.58 and he’s posting an unblocked shot share of 50.17%. Not horrible numbers considering he’s been on a pretty bad Ottawa team.
Going in the other direction was Mathieu Joseph and a 2024 4th-round pick (it appears to be the Lightning’s pick, not the one they got from the Chicago Blackhawks in the Brandon Hagel deal). Joseph, a fan favorite, was asked to do a lot this season as he bounced all around the line-up due to injuries, but spent most of his time on a line with Ross Colton and a variety of wingers.
The fourth-year NHLer had 8 goals and 10 assists on the season and in 221 games with the Lightning had 27 goals and 33 assists. An effective penalty killer and ferocious forechecker, the offense he was able to generate at other levels never translated to the NHL level.
Along with being part of two Stanley Cup teams with the Bolts he was also part of a historic moment for the league when he took to the ice with Daniel Walcott and Gemel Smith to form the first all-Black starting line in NHL history.
Ottawa did retain a portion of Paul’s salary in order to make it work under the cap.
Why was the 44.5% retention important for #Bolts? They added just $11,750 in net cap hit, and now have $4,916 of Cap Space remaining in their LTIR Poolhttps://t.co/ZSSicftRcw https://t.co/wVcffxQJav pic.twitter.com/ykPKyQEYQe— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) March 20, 2022
Paul is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and his performance down the stretch and in the playoffs will likely dictate if the Lightning try and re-sign him. Joseph was the only restricted free agent on the NHL roster that Tampa Bay needed to re-sign this offseason and any type of significant raise could have complicated their cap for next season. They may look to replace his productivity from within next season.
Welcome to Tampa, Nick Paul.
To Mathieu Joseph, thank you for everything you’ve done for the team and the region. The Lightning do not win two Stanley Cups without your help. Best of luck in the furture!