Tampa Bay Lightning bet on Nick Paul over Mathieu Joseph

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Contrary to the guidance GM Julien BriseBois gave after the Hagel trade, the Tampa Bay Lightning were not done adding before today’s trade deadline as former Ottawa Senators forward Nick Paul became a member of the Lightning last night.

You could certainly say that 27-year-old Nick Paul is a big add for Tampa Bay as he stands at 6’3″ and weighs in at 224 lbs. He comes to the Lightning with 227 games of experience spread out over 7 NHL seasons. This season he had 11 goals and 7 assists in 59 games with the Senators and will become a free agent after the season.

Paul did not make the cut in our final list of 7 players to watch out for in our trade deadline primer, but he possesses many of the qualities the Lightning have looked for in trade deadline acquisitions under Julien BriseBois. He has the size and play style to be a menace on the forecheck, the experience to be a valuable piece on the penalty kill unit, and ability to chip in with depth scoring.

Additionally, Paul gives the Lightning another capable faceoff centerman as he won 49.0% of his 679 faceoffs for the Senators this season. Whether he becomes the preferred faceoff taker on the line he slots in on – likely with Brandon Hagel and Ross Colton – remains to be seen, but the added depth will certainly be welcomed.

Looking at some different even strength on-ice numbers for Paul, his CF% with Ottawa was 48.93%, xGF% was 47.58%, and xGA/60 was 2.58. Compared to Mathieu Joseph’s numbers in Tampa of 50.41%, 49.68%, and 2.35, respectively.

At face value Paul’s numbers do not exceed what Joseph did in Tampa, but Paul’s numbers are relative to that of the second-to-last placed team in the Atlantic Division. With a stronger supporting cast surrounding Paul in Tampa Bay, it is reasonable to expect at a minimum he will match Joseph’s on-ice numbers.

To further expand on what Nick Paul will bring to the Lightning, here is Nick Paul in his own words.

Mathieu Joseph traded

In order to facilitate the acquisition of Nick Paul, a roster player needed to be moved out to keep the Lightning salary cap compliant, and it was Mathieu Joseph who found himself as the odd man out. Joseph, a restricted free agent after the season, was apparently not valued as one in the trade for the Lightning as he was unlikely to have been given a qualifying offer due to the arbitration rights he will have.

While it is sad to see a beloved franchise player traded, we enjoyed watching Joseph develop over his four seasons with the Lightning and wish him the best going forward.

Trade grades

Henry:

This trade was all about the style of playoffs. Nick Paul will bring a bigger, more physical body to the lineup. One of the important elements of this trade is Ottawa retaining 44.5% of Paul’s contract that is up after this season. Every penny counts and the Lightning have added another component to their lineup to play similar roles to Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow.

Henry’s Grade: B+

Stephen:

Adding Nick Paul is riskier than adding Hagel since trading away Mathieu Joseph, a player much more entrenched on the Lightning’s roster than Katchouk or Raddysh were, could present an issue if there’s an extended chemistry building period for Paul with his new teammates. On paper, Paul is an upgrade that gives the Lightning a greater physical edge than with Joseph, but we will have to see how long it takes him to settle in.

Stephen’s Grade: B

Related Story. Lightning Aquire Brandon Hagel from Chicago. light