While no-trade and no-move clauses might suggest otherwise, apparently, the Tampa Bay Lightning have made opposing GMs aware that there aren’t many players on the current Lighting roster the team won’t consider moving. I’m fact, there are only four. Unforuntately for forward Tyler Johnson and Steven Stamkos, they are not among them.
Related: Ekman-Larsson Sets Deadline on Any Trade Out Arizona
As per a report from TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Lightning have let it be known their intention is to be aggressive in offloading salary. He adds that onley four players are unavailable or untouchable: Conn Smythe Trophy winner Victor Hedman, runner-up Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy.
So, if Vasilievsky, Hedman, Point and Kucherov are the only untouchables, what does that mean for everyone else?
Stamkos Added to Trade Bait Board
While it’s unlikely Stamkos is traded, his exclusion from the untouchables list does make things interesting.
First, the Lightning captain holds full no-trade protection, meaning if he doesn’t want to go anywhere, he won’t be going anywhere. Second, his recent health issues might be a bit of a buyer beware sign for other teams. The sniper underwent sports hernia surgery in early March and it limited him to one one appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. Third, he’s an $8.5 million cap hit and that’s not exactly an easy contract to move in today’s flat cap market.
Still, Stamkos is Stamkos and if he’s willing to accept a trade to the right destination, there will be teams who express interest.
Tyler Johnson Helping the Lightning Make a Deal
Another player with trade protection is Tyler Johnson. But, Johnson isn’t standing in the way of any potential move.
It’s not necessarily that he wants to leave (in fact, he probably doesn’t), but he knows that he’s a piece, if moved, that could really help the Lightning address many of their salary cap issues. In a way, he’s trying to get one final assist before he heads out the door.
Johnson has given the Tampa Bay Lightning several options to work with in the quest for trade, according to Darren Dreger. Dreger adds, “Sources say the list includes a mix of teams league wide. Good communication between Lightning GM, Julien BriseBois and the Johnson camp.”
Johnson isn’t cheap at $5 million for four more seasons but at 30, he’s still got some game in him and if the Lightning are willing to retain some salary, the potential of a deal is there.
The Lightning Need to Shed Cap
There have been rumors since the moment the Lightning won hockey’s biggest prize that the team was looking to quickly move $10 million or more in cap space. The problem was that most of the players the Lightning are hoping to deal have a lot of say as to where they’ll wind up.
If players with no-move clauses or trade protection don’t want to go, there’s not much Tampa can do about it. The most they can do is tell NHL teams to ask and then relay that interest to their players.
Next: Maple Leafs and Canadiens Target Wayne Simmonds in NHL Free Agency
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