Sometimes, I get a wild idea in my head and then I run with it. This time, I wanted to pick some random trades out of Tampa Bay Lightning history and write about them, no matter if they were a big trade or a nothing trade. According to ProSportsTransactions.com, the Tampa Bay Lightning have made 306 trades during the course of franchise history. I used the Google Random Number Picker with a minimum of 1 and maximum of 306 and hit Generate. For this entry, it came up with 235.
The 235th trade in Lightning history was made on February 14th, 2013 when the Lightning acquired Cedrick Desjardins from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Dustin Tokarski.
This trade came right at the beginning of the 2012-13 lock-out shortened season. Desjardins had already played 22 games in the AHL for the Hamilton Bulldogs with a 7-13-2 record and a 2.94 GAA and .905 SV%. He ended up playing three games for the Lightning in the 2012-13 season, going 0-3 with a 3.00 GAA and .890 GAA. In 14 games for the Syracuse Crunch. his numbers were much better as he had a 2.12 GAA and .918 SV% with an 8-5-1 record. He played spectacularly in the playoffs going 13-5 with a 2.30 GAA and .908 SV% with the Crunch coming up just short of winning an AHL championship.
This wasn’t Desjardins’ first stint with the Lightning. Nor was it the first time the Lightning traded a goaltending prospect to Montreal in exchange for him. Desjardins had been acquired from the Canadiens before the 2010-11 season in exchange for Karri Ramo, even though Ramo had left to play in the KHL. In that one year stint, he played in two games for the Lightning and 24 games for the Norfolk Admirals. In total, he played in six NHL games, all for the Lightning.
He remained with the Lightning for another season, appearing in one game in 2013-14 while spending the rest of the season with the Crunch. He signed as a free agent with the New York Rangers, but never made it back to the NHL.
Tokarski was originally a draft pick by the Lightning in the 5th round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft out of the WHL. The young netminder was the Jon Cooper of netminders - everywhere he went, he won. Starting in 2006 when he led the Prince Albert Mintos to the Canadian Midget National Championship he’s locked up an impressive amount of trophies. He led the Spokane Chiefs to the Memorial Cup in 2007-08 and Team Canada to the World Juniors Championship in 2009.
He made his NHL debut in 2009-10, playing in two games for the Lightning, and played in five games for them in 2011-12. Otherwise, he spent his three-and-a-half years with the organization as a professional mostly playing in the AHL with the Norfolk Admirals and Syracuse Crunch, including winning the Calder Cup with the Admirals in 2011-12.
Up until the trade, Tokarski had played in 33 games for the Syracuse Crunch with a 2.46 GAA and .900 SV% with a 18-8-4 record. Word at the time was that the Lightning were looking for a more veteran 3rd goaltender to backup Anders Linback and Mathieu Garon, which prompted the swap of the two goalies. Since leaving the Lightning, he has taken on the role as journeyman goaltender having played for 11 different teams across several organizations. While he is currently in the AHL with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, he has played in 76 career NHL games for the Lightning, Canadiens, Anaheim Ducks, and Buffalo Sabres. He also added another Calder Cup to his trophy case in 2018-19 playing with the Charlotte Checkers, though he only played in five playoff games for them.
One day maybe, like Cooper, he’ll finally add the Stanley Cup to his trophy case.