Lightning Round: what’s next for BriseBois and the Tampa Bay Lightning?

Surely selling Namestnikov isn’t their last move.

The Tampa Bay Lightning made a trade yesterday, sending out Vlad Namestnikov to the San Jose Sharks for depth forward Michael Eyssimont. You can read a breakdown of the trade here. [Raw Charge]

“The Tampa Bay Lightning have done the San Jose Sharks a favor, trading them Vlad Namestnikov at 50% retained for forward Michael Eyssimont. Namestnikov will now have $1.25 million of dead money on the Lightning’s books for the rest of the year.”

There are two possible reasons for a trade like this. Okay, three, but two realistic ones. First, and most likely, the Lightning have cleared up some cap space in order to make an addition. Second, the Lightning took someone off their regular roster so Pat Maroon could play and they’re going to use the remaining cap space on extra skaters. The third, I hope unrealistic, scenario is the Lightning have scouted and acquired Eyssimont to play him and Maroon will still be a scratch.

Out of the scenarios listed, I sure hope this was a move to create space that JBB will then use. Adding some bodies to push others at the bottom of the lineup down makes everyone’s lives a little easier, from the skaters playing easier minutes to the coaching staff having injury support. If the Lightning don’t use the cap space they have then they’ve wasted their assets (cap space is an asset).

Using TSN’s Trade Bait Board, I made a short list of players that could possibly come in and play a non-depth role as the 23rd player on the roster. Conor Sheary would need a little fudging, but it could work.

  • Nick Bjugstad (1 x $900k) - age 30, center, 13 goals in 59 games for Arizona.
  • Conor Sheary (1 x $1.5m) - age 30, left wing, 12 goals in 62 games for Washington.
  • Nick Seeler (1 x $775k) - age 29, left defense, not sheltered third pair with positive relative shot rates on Philly./

These are the types of players I would think the Lightning should be interested in. Having a guy like Seeler (or Luke Schenn before he went back to Toronto) helps insulate a rookie defender like Nick Perbix. A center like Bjugstad provides center depth to help Bellemare, who’s age is catching up, and maybe playing higher with Paul. Or Sheary to do similar things now that there’s a Namestnikov-sized hole in the lineup.

Would Toronto be willing to give us Justin Holl in their glut of defenders? Because we could really use him.

Part of me wonders if the Lightning are afraid to sit certain players. Their entire fourth line “deserves” to be there for many reasons, but they’ve been slipping farther and farther away in terms of their ability to make a difference. That compromise for leadership and toughness is a choice that I’m not necessarily against, but the lack of options down the lineup seeps all the way up to the first line. We have seen the Lightning over the past week try to make a dollar out of three quarters and a couple dimes within their top-nine.

No one’s stepping up, no one’s on a shooting bender that fills a role. And on that thought I’m seeing the Lightning winning by out-playing their opponent less and beating their opponents only when certain players get hot more.

Last thought that might undermine most of this article. If the Lightning wanted to shed salary, Philippe Myers is right there. I wouldn’t even mind adding a pick a sweetner or retaining some salary to get most of that contract off the books. And it saves a player who actually earned a job on the team a chance to stay on the team.

And as if he knew, Justin wrote an article before the Namestnikov trade outlining who might come out of the lineup with Jeannot coming in. It is still relevant, even after this trade. [Raw Charge]

“If you look at the forwards on the Tampa Bay Lightning there are several spots that are locked in. Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Alex Killorn, Anthony Cirelli, and Nick Paul aren’t leaving the line-up unless they are injured. Ross Colton and Corey Perry are probably safe as well. That leaves three players that Jeannot could possibly replace over the next 22 games - Vladislav Namestnikov, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, and Pat Maroon.”

Dylan Larkin is unsurprisingly extended in Detroit.

Other Trades:

Jakob Chychrun (3 x $4.6m) to Ottawa for a first (cond), a second (cond), and another second. After all this time, that was it for Jakob Chychrun? I won’t remind you who paid more for less.

Jonathan Quick (unhappily) was traded to Columbus as Los Angeles acquired Vladislav Gavrikov and Joonas Korpisalo. Columbus also got a first and a third.

Lars Eller ($2.4m) was traded from Washington to Colorado for a second.

Vancouver spent a first and a third for defender Filip Hronek and a fourth who is on a term deal. I think it’s a smart deal for a team with an extra first and young stars who aren’t staying young. They know they need to be competitive a lot sooner than their draft picks will allow.

Shayne Gostisbehere ($4.5m) went from Arizona to Carolina for a third. He’s probably the only guy on that team with a positive shooting impact.

Vegas acquired Teddy Blueger ($2.2m) from Pittsburgh for a third and an AHL contract.

Then Pittsburgh acquired Mikael Granlund (3 x $5m) from Nashville for a second. Pittsburgh better be hoping he’s a lot better than his entire tenure in Nashville because he hasn’t been a 20-goal guy since leaving Minny.