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Lightning Likely to Take “Big Swing” Before NHL Trade Deadline

The Tampa Bay Lightning don’t have much cap space but that won’t stop them from potentially taking a big swing at the trade deadline.

When asked if he believed the Tampa Bay Lightning might take another ‘big swing’ before the NHL Trade Deadline, Joe Smith of The Athletic wrote, “Their prospect pool has taken a hit, and they don’t have a second-through-fourth-round pick at next year’s draft. But I don’t believe that precludes them from taking another shot at this year’s deadline.” He adds, “My sense from the Lightning is that if there’s a great opportunity to fill an important need by the time the spring comes, they’ll go for it.”

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All that said, the Lightning have a small problem that really isn’t all that small. They don’t have the luxury of salary cap space to add a big piece. Unlike some other teams who could acquire star players about to hit free agency, the Lightning would have to get creative. It’s something they’ve shown they can do — last year they added David Savard and got the Red Wings involved to retain some salary. If they can do something similar this season, they might be buyers.

Julien BriseBois Tampa Bay Lightning
Julien BriseBois Tampa Bay Lightning

While the cap situation is one that might be tricky to navigate, the Lightning do have a first-round pick this year that they could be willing to move. A team that is never shy about moving top draft selections to give themselves the best chance to win. Smith doesn’t believe that first-rounder is off-limits. They also have a couple of prospects they can dangle, including names like Boris Katchouk, Taylor Raddysh, Alex Barre-Boulet, and Gabriel Fortier. He also mentions Jack Finley and Jake Thompson as potential trade chips.

Injuries Will Play a Factor

One of the things Smith says the Lightning will be watching is the team’s injury situation. How the young talent performs with bigger names currently out of the lineup could affect the odds of those players being moved. If they become assets the Lightning believe in, they’ll stick around and could be counted on down the stretch.

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