Vibe Checking Lightning CapFriendly Armchair-GM Trades
Amidst the Tampa Bay Lightning sitting idle while Atlantic Division rivals — Boston and Toronto — beef up at the deadline, hockey fans brave enough to put their trade ideas on the internet are actively making trades involving the Lightning using CapFriendly’s Armchair-GM tool.
After putting out our trade deadline primer, we wanted to capture current hockey fan sentiment on some of the names circulating.
These trade offers can come from fans of the Lightning, the hypothetical trading partner, or any other team’s fans interested in what the Lightning may do this trade deadline.
Note that we have only included trades that work exclusively by themselves or are close enough to be reasonable. Often times there are multiple trades included in one Armchair-GM, but we only picked out the relevant trades involving the Lightning. Now, let’s see what the internet concocted.
Schenn in, Foote out
Starting off with a Luke Schenn trade, this immediately strikes me as an equivalent to the Nick Paul trade made last season. A young roster player, whose contract will expire as an RFA with arbitration rights, and a fourth-round pick in exchange for a pending UFA. A fourth is more than reasonable, but the inclusion of Cal Foote will probably leave fans with differing opinions depending on how they value Foote.
Last season, Mathieu Joseph was dealt in-part due to his arbitration rights putting the Lightning in a position where they would not qualify him, and without a deal in place for next season, the team could be in a spot to do the same with Foote, rather than lose him for nothing.
Doing business with Chicago (again) for Lafferty
We know from Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli that the asking price on Sam Lafferty is a second-round pick, but I do not believe adding a 26-year-old AHL defenseman is going to allow the Lightning to get away with giving up a lesser draft pick. This is close to getting one of the better under-the-radar trade targets, but maybe there’s another way to get Lafferty without giving up a second-round pick.
That other way
If Chicago finds Lafferty’s market softer than expected, adding a trade condition as to whether they get their desired second round pick would be a smart move to try and pull off.
However, part of the selling point on getting Lafferty — his extra year on his contract — would give the Blackhawks room to not be forced into a trade, giving them the option to bet on Lafferty continuing his performance into next season, and profiting at the 2024 deadline.
Barbashev at the cost of the 2025 first-round pick
We identified Ivan Barbashev as one of the top options the team should pursue this trade deadline, but a first-round pick three drafts out for a pending UFA, unlikely to be re-signed, is a far-fetched idea. Only one team in the league is without a first-round pick in 2025, and that’s our friends down in Sunrise, but they did so to get Matthew Tkachuk signed through the 2030 season.
If that’s the value the Blues demand, then the difference between a first and a second-round pick would have to be made up with a prospect. or additional draft capital.
Bellemare is included, presumably, to make the cap work, but adding retention and moving one of Cal Foote or Haydn Fleury would also work. Double salary retention, utilizing a third party, would make it so no roster deductions need to be made. Regardless, I do not see Bellemare becoming a deadline cap casualty.
Beefing up for Toronto in the first round with ex-Leaf Barabanov
Alexander Barabanov is another name I have seen thrown around in Lightning trades quite a bit on CapFriendly, and it is easy to understand why. He is underrated part of what makes San Jose work — when they do — and has another year on his contract at a modest $2.5 million cap hit.
With 11 goals and 26 assists this season, Barabanov would bring similar offensive impacts as Barbashev but also provide stronger defensive results.
My biggest issue with acquiring a player with term and a cap hit well north of the league minimum is how it will hinder the team over the offseason. Re-signing Ross Colton is likely to be a priority and would consume most of our free cap space. And if keeping Colton is not possible, Killorn is still there as someone we would like to keep at the right price.
Additionally, the value feels off here, as San Jose would likely value Barabanov over a third and a goalie prospect swap. Alnefelt would be an upgrade over Mann, for San Jose, but Barabanov’s value should begin with a first-round pick.
I mentioned before why the 2025 first-round pick will most likely not be on the table for GM Julien BriseBois to offer this trade deadline, but he has been an unconventional trade deadline operator, so never say never.