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Lightning Round: Tampa Bay Lightning exploring Luke Schenn return from Vancouver

and Rudolfs Balcers begins his conditioning stint.

2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five
TAMPA, FL - JULY 7: Luke Schenn #2 of the Tampa Bay Lightning hoists the Stanley Cup overhead after the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens in Game Five to win the best of seven game series 4-1 during the Stanley Cup Final of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on July 7, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.
Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Lightning have their sights set on the return of defenseman Luke Schenn heading toward the trade deadline in a month and a half. Schenn was a 6/7 defenseman for the Lightning during both their Cup runs, playing about 10 minutes a night in 19 playoff games. Since his departure in free agency, Schenn has spent a lot of time playing next to Quinn Hughes and has been getting a lot of praise there.

Schenn was and still is a somewhat steady support presence that the Lightning could use to bolster their depth. He’s by no means going to be a difference-maker. Right away, because of Schenn’s hype in Vancouver and improved results next to Hughes (thanks to a massive 104 on ice PDO this season), I’m worried the cost to acquire the right handed defender is going to be more than he is worth.

If the Lightning were to reacquire Schenn, there’s a few places where he could fit in the lineup. It’s possible he gets a trial next to Hedman, who has struggled to keep a steady partner since Jan Rutta left in free agency, but last time Schenn only saw time with Hedman in the seven defenseman setup. He could play with Sergachev in a more offensive role, but Perbix’s skills seem more suited for that at the moment. And I’m not sure he’s the best guy in a shutdown pair.

The Lightning have a very interchangeable defense, so having Schenn come in as another body is a good idea. I just don’t think he’ll automatically push someone out of a job while possibly costing the same amount as someone who is a difference-maker.

If I was JBB, I would be looking for either the perfect two-way partner for Hedman, ideally making that first pair even stronger at both ends of the ice, opening up Cernak for the shutdown pair. Or upgrading the shutdown pair with a real top-four guy and play Cernak with Hedman. If they can bring Schenn in as well for a mid-round pick, I’m all for it.

Poll

Luke Schenn, yay or nay?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    Yay
    (68 votes)
  • 46%
    Nay
    (60 votes)
128 votes total Vote Now

Lightning Links

The Lightning have assigned Rudolfs Balcers to the Syracuse Crunch on a conditioning stint. The 25-year-old waivers acquisition hasn’t played since Nov 25th when he suffered an undisclosed upper body injury.

The Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation, Algonquin Nation, and hockey community mourns the loss of Gino Odjick, who was a survivor of the Spanish Indian Residential School in Ontario before getting out and playing in 605 NHL games. Odjick was an enforcer who wracked up 64 goals and 2567 penalty minutes and was an inspiration to many. Rest easy.

I highly recommend reading the article linked below by Sean Carleton on Gino’s struggle. In it he mentions that Gino was diagnosed with a rare terminal disease known as AL amyloidosis in 2014. There are also some great stories about Pat Quinn and his time in BC.

Alex Nedeljkovic was placed on waivers yesterday to be sent to the Grand Rapids Griffins by the Detroit Red Wings. Nedeljkovic, who is already on the Griffins as part of a conditioning stint, is expected to clear and spend some time down in the minors, similar to Jakub Vrana earlier this month. Nedeljkovic has one season with a positive goals saved above expected in his career and has lost his tandem job to Magnus Hellberg in Detroit.