Trade Deadline Primer: 7 players the Tampa Bay Lightning could acquire

Mar 13, 2022; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) checks Vancouver Canucks forward Tyler Motte (64) in the first period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 13, 2022; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) checks Vancouver Canucks forward Tyler Motte (64) in the first period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports /
1 of 3

The opportunity for the Tampa Bay Lightning to alter their roster via trade is soon to be closed as we approach the trade deadline on Monday at 3PM EST. GM Julien BriseBois’ trade deadline activity the previous two seasons can be credited with helping the Lightning finally win the Stanley Cup with this core, but all three major acquisitions – Blake Coleman, Barclay Goodrow, and David Savard – are no longer on the team. So, do the Lightning need to add this season, who do they add, and can they add anyone with their salary cap situation?

Salary cap situation

The salary cap situation is the easiest to answer since the Lightning have $0 in cap space. The Lightning’s upper salary cap limit was set on opening night when Brent Seabrook was placed on LTIR, and currently all members of the opening night roster are healthy and active. So, any trade acquisition would require an equal or greater amount of salary cap moved out to accommodate the trade.

Some names to consider for clearing cap space include Boris Katchouk, Taylor Raddysh, and Cal Foote. Katchouk seems to be the most likely candidate to be traded or waived to clear cap space as he has been the least used of the three this season.

Raddysh and Foote have looked promising at times this season, but there may be questions pertaining to if they can contribute to a Stanley Cup run this season. If an option presents itself to improve the team this year, trading one could give the team the best odds of winning while they remain in win-now mode.

Trading or waiving Katchouk or Raddysh would afford the Lightning enough cap space to acquire any play with a cap hit of $3,033,332, or less, with double salary retention.

Tampa Bay Lightning’s roster needs

Looking at the Lightning roster now, it is capable of competing for the Stanley Cup as is. They only sit 4 points back from the Florida Panthers for first in the division and 7 points back from the Colorado Avalanche for first in the league, with at least game in-hand over Colorado.

The top-six forward group is more-or-less the same as the previous two seasons. The Maroon-Bellemare-Perry line has outscored opponents and provided consistent defensive prowess. And the Joseph-Colton-Raddysh line has held their own.

On the defensive side, the situation is more-or-less status quo. The left side defense remains one of the deepest in the league with Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh, and Mikhail Sergachev. And the right side consists of Erik Cernak, Jan Rutta, and Zach Bogosian – all three having been major contributors in previous Stanley Cup runs. Additionally, Cal Foote looks like he may be ready to see playoff action this season.

If we are being honest, there are no absolute needs for this team to pursue. Any trade would be for a player that upgrades the job someone already in the lineup is doing a satisfactory job of. The biggest want would have to be a hard to play against forward that brings a scoring touch at even strength and experience to the penalty kill unit.

The Lightning are currently 16th in the league for PK% at 80.0%. They still have the Alex Killorn-Anthony Cirelli pairing, but lost three major penalty kill pieces in Goodrow, Coleman, and Gourde over the offseason. Pierre-Édouard Bellemare and Mathieu Joseph have filled in nicely, but ideally another reliable penalty killing forward would be preferable to have.

On defense, the addition of Zach Bogosian to a multi-year contract would ideally fill the Savard need the Lightning plugged last season at the deadline, but there could still be a need for reinforcement or improvement. Both Bogosian and Cernak have dealt with multiple injuries this season and played only roughly half of all possible games to this point. If there are lingering concerns about the long-term durability of either, a defensive addition could be warranted.

Trade assets the Tampa Bay Lightning possess

Trade assets of notable value:

  • 2022 1st
  • 2023 1st
  • 2023 3rd
  • 2023 4th
  • Jack Thompson (best defense prospect)
  • Jack Finley (best forward prospect)
  • Cal Foote & Taylor Raddysh (best roster players potentially available)

When you look at what the Lightning have to bargain with, their two first-round picks immediately stand out as their best assets. A potentially interesting twist this year is that teams selling players are reportedly looking for 2023 draft picks over 2022 picks since the 2023 draft is ‘perceived as being “deeper” than 2022,’ according to Frank Seravalli. This could favor the Lightning in trades as they still have their full array of 2023 draft picks, minus their second rounder.

Looking at prospects, this is not 2020 when they had Nolan Foote as a prospect of value. Their most recent first round draftee still in the organization is Cal Foote (2017) and none of their later picks have turned into gems as of yet. Jack Thompson and Jack Finley still carry value, but they will not move the needle to the same degree other team’s top prospects might if we get into a bidding war over a player.

While I think it is unlikely the Lightning trade Foote or Raddysh, they are the most valuable roster players the Lightning have that they could trade if a roster player of value is needed to be included in a trade.

For trade board rankings see: The Athletic, Daily Faceoff, TSN

Player statistics sourced from: Hockey Reference, Natural Stat Trick