At the trade deadline in 2019, Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Juilen BriseBois decided to stand firm. And why wouldn’t he? The Lightning were firing at a record setting pace and were the unquestioned favorite to win the Stanley Cup. Then, they were unceremoniously booted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in a four game sweep.
In 2020, things were different.
BriseBois paid some high prices for two players that left many scratching their heads. It’s not as if Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow weren’t good players, but to give up two first round picks and former first round pick Nolan Foote in order to get them? That was steep. Many believed the young GM overpaid in a “panic” move unlike what his mentor Steve Yzerman would have done.
In addition to the high price, Coleman wouldn’t join the team for a few more games. The Lightning were headed to the west coast and Coleman had to orchestrate a move from New Jersey to Tampa while his wife was expecting their first child. It was a lot to handle mentally for someone who wasn’t expected to be moved.
Now? Now, it’s hard to imagine the Lightning winning the Stanley Cup without those two players. As part of a line that also included Yanni Gourde, Coleman and Goodrow were instrumental in the success of the Bolts. Not only did that third line generate scoring chances, but it gave the entire team a boost of energy every time they hit the ice. Coleman had one of the most memorable goals in recent memory with his Superman dive into the net – then he scored the insurance goal in the series clinching game of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Goodrow was possibly the best penalty killer this team had. With both he and Coleman on the first team penalty kill, the Lightning held the Stars to just one power play goal in six games. In fact, they were a key reason teams had a difficult time even getting out of the neutral zone and setting up their power play offense, let alone being able to garner scoring chances.
So was the trade worth it? If I told you back in December that the Lightning could give away both of their first round picks and Nolan Foote and it would result in the Lightning winning the Stanley Cup, wouldn’t you have agreed? Of course you would. Because it’s the Cup.
There’s never too steep a price to pay if it means living in immortality as a Stanley Cup champion.