RawTable: Will the Tampa Bay Lightning chase Ryan McDonagh at the NHL trade deadline?

Are the Tampa Bay Lightning going to bargain for a New York Rangers left-shot D at trade deadline?

In RawTable, the staff of RawCharge comes together to discuss a topic relating to the Tampa Bay Lightning. This particular RawTable spun off of a group conversation that explored the Ryan McDonagh trade speculation. Plus, Achariya was on a Rangers podcast recently to chat about it, so she totally forced everyone else to weigh in too.

Achariya: Let’s pretend you’re the Tampa Bay Lightning front office and the trade deadline is coming up. Who do you go hunting, aside from the rarest unicorn, the right-side D? Ryan McDonagh is 28 years old with 1.5 years left on his very affordable contract (4.7). Rangers are looking for scoring and prospects, Bolts are looking to shore up D. I’d be surprised, given Yzerman’s love of former Rangers, if he wasn’t deeply interested in this guy.

Hardev: I like to believe that the value the fans and media have put on McDonagh is not accurate to what the actual price will be. They’ve been pumping him for a little over a week now.

Saima: I’m diametrically opposed to any deal involving Brayden Point - and to a lesser extent, Mikhail Sergachev. It’s hard to judge any hypothetical trade without knowing the cost. Can someone tell me if McDonagh is actually any good?

Achariya: That’s the problem, Saima. He’s currently at less than 50% possession, and is third-best in possession numbers among defensemen on the Rangers. I asked Rangers fans why, and they said, he’s dragging around a terrible partner this season. ”He was better with Girardi even, which is saying a lot,” they said.

Hardev: Looking at this from the NYR side, they’re in the position where they don’t want to get stuck waiting behind the Erik Karlsson / Drew Doughty / Oliver Ekman-Larsson sweepstakes. They would be smart to sell McDonagh before then instead of waiting around to be someone’s third or fourth choice. That situation most likely takes any move at (or after) the draft out of the equation. If this is the case then the deadline is the place where McDonagh has to go. Could Jeff Gorton be pressured by his camp or Yzerman (who must also know this too) into accepting a lower offer out of fear of not getting a return at all later? Possibly.

Saima: Is he better than Girardi in New York or Girardi in Tampa? Because that’s two very different standards.

Matt: Ryan McDonagh is a top pairing defender in the NHL. He’s consistently on the periphery of the top 10 defenders in the league as well. Adding him would be a boon for the Lightning. However, he’s a left-handed shot and we already have a crowd of left-handers (Hedman, Sergachev, Coburn, Koekkoek). So that complicates things a little personnel-wise. It has to be stated that a McDonagh addition makes Tampa Bay much more formidable on defense.

Loserpoints: McDonagh is a legit top pairing D. He’s played with some of the worst partners in the league for most of his time in NY. And in whatever that system is, which seems to do weird things to everyone’s numbers.

Saima: Alright, so let’s say we snag him at or below market value. What does the lineup look like, given that he’s a LHD and the Bolts rarely have d-men play on their offside?

  • Hedman-Dotchin
  • McDonagh-Stralman
  • Sergachev-Coburn/Sustr... /

I imagine Koekkoek’s a goner in this scenario. I don’t like the idea of separating Sergachev from his reliable veteran partner, but I recognize I have a bias towards ensuring proper prospect development at all costs. If he’s a legit top pairing D, I don’t think he slides all the way down to the bottom pairing.

Matt: Well, you can put him with Stralman or Girardi on the middle pairing. That pushes Sergachev’s minutes down (which would probably be a good thing at this time) and allows him to get more favorable matchups. If Tampa Bay wants to go with McDonagh-Girardi then that still gives us Sergachev-Stralman. The issues arise with Coburn’s ice time (I’m not overly concerned with Sustr’s ice time, and I’d expect Koekkoek to be moved if McDonagh is acquired via trade). So you could, theoretically, have a lineup like so:

  • Hedman-Dotchin
  • McDonagh-Girardi
  • Sergachev-Stralman
  • Coburn/

You can mix and match a bit more, but that seems like a sensible way to go. The middle and bottom pairings can have their ice-times managed differently as well. McDonagh is currently averaging 23-24 mins a night, a lighter load could do wonders for McDonagh. You pair him with Girardi, who is averaging between 15-17 mins, and then keep the Sergachev-Stralman pairing close to those same minutes and you have a defensive corp that can do some damage (mix and match things if TB goes 11/7). This also doesn’t take into account how the Sergachev-Girardi combo (which has been surprisingly effective) could be utilized as well.

They could also throw us a curveball and put Hedman with McDonagh (their handedness be damned) and keep Sergachev-Stralman together while having a weaker bottom pair with Coburn-Girardi (Sustr and Dotchin mixed in). They could also go Hedman-Stralman up top with McDonagh-Girardi, and then Sergachev-Dotchin (Coburn or Sustr). Options aren’t a bad thing to have. It’s simply a matter of figuring out what would be optimal for them moving forward. However, this is all speculative.

Tom: Koekkoek seems like a guy that would be in any package going back. Raddysh too.

Hardev: I’m curious to see if NYR management will get enamoured with any of the young players on the Bolts or Syracuse Crunch and take them.

Justin: As long as Sergachev or Point aren’t going back to New York I say it’s fine. The Lightning are going to run into a log jam of forward prospects soon, so might as well unload one or two. Besides, after losing Brian Boyle, the Bolts are short on their former Ranger quota. Bonus if they can get New York to take Andrej Sustr off their hands.

Achariya: I mean. Sustr’s contract might not be renewed this summer.

Justin: Still, take Coop’s toy away from him so he stops putting him in the lineup. [Several 100% icons follow this.]

Matt: As for price, Sergachev and Point are off the table. Sergachev because he has to be a core piece moving forward for the defense, and the forward corps would not be where they’re at if it wasn’t for Point’s line and his play. In my eyes, we can’t afford to lose Point. The offense would become more imbalanced and we’d essentially become a team with one dominant line and three mediocre ones; whereas now we have two dominant lines, one solid line, and a grinder line. We will need that depth at forward in the playoffs.

I wouldn’t be opposed to losing Namestnikov, but I don’t know if New York would want him. His production has been subpar during his tenure with Tampa Bay and he’s only produced at a top line level while being grouped with Stamkos and Kucherov. His metrics look wonderful everywhere in the lineup, but the traditional numbers are something a lot of people will point to and be hesitant about.

I’d say a 1st, a 2nd, Koekkoek or Namestnikov and two high-end prospects (three if we don’t include a roster player) would be a sufficient package for McDonagh. What prospects? I’m unsure. We can throw names around, but we just don’t know what New York is looking at. They need help in every position (both in the pipeline and on the roster) aside from goaltending. It’d have to be one of those situations where New York gives a list of prospects they’re interested in and Tampa Bay says “ok here are your options” and then negotiations start.

Achariya: Great. Let’s call Mr. Yzerman and tell him how it should go.

Hardev: I believe we’re all agreed that we’re getting Roman Polak and Erik Gudbranson.

Achariya: Hardev “Dinesh” Lad.

Hardev: :D

Should we bargain for Ryan McDonagh at the trade deadline?

Yes, he’ll provide veteran depth at D, even if it’s on the left189
No, we don’t want to push Sergachev and Koekkoek down further than they are70
But what about Erik Karlsson?124
Other: will explain in comments12