3 enticing trades that will launch the Tampa Bay Lightning into serious Stanley Cup contention

The Tampa Bay Lightning don’t look like a surefire top-three team in the Atlantic Division, but adding one more puzzle piece or two could change that.
Nashville Predators v Montreal Canadiens
Nashville Predators v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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The Tampa Bay Lightning are shifting between a top-three spot in the Atlantic Division and a wild card as we enter the next phase of the 2024 playoff race. They have fared much better as of late, so this perennial playoff contender will still attract trade assets to the organization when the 2024 trade deadline rolls around. 

Despite still being one of the better teams in the Atlantic and, by extension, the Eastern Conference, the Lightning need some serious depth help defensively, especially after losing defenseman Mikhail Sergachev. A better No. 2 goaltender, for example, would be great, or a blueliner who can slide into the third pairing or even the top-four when necessary. While unlikely, it also wouldn’t be too farfetched if the Lightning acquired one more scorer by March 8th. 

Tyson Barrie would rediscover his game in Tampa

For the Lighting, it’s almost a shoo-in that they will be looking to improve their defensive rotation, and Tyson Barrie has a proven track record. Barrie’s two-way game, even if he’s struggled in the offensive zone this season, is an added bonus for Tampa, who could even take their scoring up another notch if they landed the 13-year veteran. 

Despite how poorly he’s looked lately, Barrie has still been a major help in the 5-on-5 game, with the Predators snagging a 10.0 shooting percentage when he’s on the ice. This is just the third time in Barrie’s career that he’s helped a team reach double-digits in scoring percentage at 5-on-5, so the value is definitely there.

His on-ice save percentage in the same situation is also 91.7, and while it’s a lower number than last season, it’s still high enough to entice a good hockey team like Tampa. Acquiring Barrie, however, would put the Lightning in the red, so they would have to move some players around. 

Nashville can retain one more contract, so in this case, they will keep 30 percent of Barrie’s. The Predators will also land a couple of low-end players with expiring contracts in Alex Barre-Boulet and Haydn Fleury. Tampa would also give them a third-rounder in 2024, plus second-rounders in 2025 and 2026, to bring much-needed help to their blue line.