For the Tampa Bay Lightning, the time to win once again is right now. With the trade deadline less than a month away, that means it is also time to go “all in” once more.
The Lightning have pushed all of their chips in at the last three trade deadlines. They have given up a total of five future first round draft picks and come away with two Stanley Cups and a third trip to the Final in a row. Clearly, the moves they have made have paid off with the impactful players they have brought in for the here and now.
This year however, their hands are tied more than ever. They essentially have no cap space. The first round draft picks that they have loved to give up have run out. They do not have a first round pick until 2025 and no first or second round pick in this year’s upcoming draft.
On top of all that, the Lightning do not have a particularly shining pool of prospects either due to how they have traded away many of their high picks.
Despite the lack of real quality assets, Julien Brisebois and Lightning management recognize that this group has an opportunity to win once again. They have made it clear that while they have Andrei Vasilevskiy in net and the core of the team they have in front of him, the time to win will always be now.
Some how, some way this team will figure out how to add another piece at the deadline. But the truth is that in order to do so, a current roster player or players will have to head back the other way in a deal. The only way this is avoidable is if an unforeseen injury arises.
The point being that in order to win this season, just about every possibility is in play for the Lightning to make something work. They will surely do whatever it takes to improve this teams chances for another long playoff run. So if that means giving up that 2025 first round pick or multiple later round picks or multiple current roster players, now is the time to do so.
Each of the last three years, the Lightning have mortgaged their future to an extent to capitalize on the present and there is no reason to believe they won’t do so again and make it work.