The Tampa Bay Lightning traded star defenseman Ryan McDonagh to the Nashville Predators on Sunday. In return, the Lightning received defenseman Philippe Myers and prospect forward Grant Mismash. This move can be seen as a win by both teams, and while it may confuse some fans, there are a couple of reasons for this trade.
The Lightning acquired McDonagh in 2018 as part of a blockbuster deal that officially sent the New York Rangers into a rebuild. McDonagh was sent to Tampa along with JT Miller, who was traded to the Vancouver Canucks in the 2019 offseason. The Lightning traded away prospects Libor Hajek, Brett Howden, Vladislav Namestnikov, a 2018 first-round pick that turned into Nils Lundkvist, and a conditional second-round pick that turned into Karl Henriksson.
The Lightning have been seen as the winners of that trade now that the Lightning have won two Stanley Cups with McDonagh on their roster, so it’s sad to see a player like him go. The mix of great leadership, gritty play, and amazing defense made for one of the best defensemen in the league. However, with how much his body is used, he hasn’t been the same player that he was before.
With all that being said, here’s why the Lightning needed to trade McDonagh, and why it’s good that this decision was made.
1. Cap Space
The Lightning needed to clear up cap, it was necessary to do so. With Ondrej Palat and Jan Rutta on expiring contracts, fans knew a trade was going to be made. Unfortunately, it cost Ryan McDonagh, but it cleared up $6.275 million in space, which is enough to get both Palat and Rutta re-signed.
McDonagh is a great player, nobody can argue that, but over time his production has slowed down. He’s not as fast on the ice, his offense has taken a hit, and his defense isn’t the same defense we’re used to seeing from him. Age is catching up, unfortunately, and even at 33, we’re seeing a decline. With that being said, while he hasn’t been bad, there’s also four years left on his contract, which means he’ll be 37 by the time that contract is over.
3. Contract Issues
Back in 2018, the Lightning resigned McDonagh to a seven-year deal, and it was a questionable deal from the start. With McDonagh at the age he was by the time that deal was signed, seven years made him finish his contract at 37 years old. The contract didn’t take effect until the 2019-20 season. This was a deal the Lightning would have liked to gotten out from underneath, and with four years left, this was a great time to do so.
Now for the players the Lightning acquired. Philippe Myers is a very interesting player. He hasn’t produced at the rate the Philadelphia Flyers were hoping for, he was waived and didn’t play much better in Nashville. There were talks of the Lightning buying him out for over $600k in cap space freed up, but according to multiple reports, the Lightning are going to be playing this next season with Myers in the lineup.
Now for Mismash, a name that is not very well known by many NHL fans, but is also a player to be excited about. While his point production isn’t the best, it seems like he is improving overall as a player. While he didn’t play well this season, in previous season in the NCAA, he’s been pretty impressive. Only time will tell how good Mismash becomes.