(Photo by NHL.com)
By Michael Wax
The trade deadline is this coming Monday, and contending teams are already starting to make moves. Josh Manson and Nico Sturm moved their way to Colorado, Florida picked up Ben Chiarot, and Calgary acquired Callie Jarnkrok. Even the Lightning have made a big-time move, trading two roster players and two first round picks in exchange for Brandon Hagel. Julien BriseBois says the Lightning are now done, but there's always room to improve.
Using Dom Lusczyszyn's player cards from The Athletic, let's analyze these potential trade chips for the Bolts, what their contracts look like, and what the asking price might be. This should also go without saying, but every one of these targets will most likely require 50% on the trade player.
Copp is young, versatile, and an extremely hard worker. The 27-year-old can slot in next to Ross Colton and Mathieu Joseph and not miss a step. He's on pace to break his career-high in goals and points, both of which he set last season. As the Lightning have shown in the past, sometimes you need versatile depth, and Copp fits the mold. Much like the David Savard trade, the Lightning would need multiple teams to retain cap hit in order for this to work. With the way BriseBois works, this shouldn't be an issue.
- Contract status: $3.64M (2022 UFA)
- Price: D Roman Schmidt, 2022 1st (to the Jets); 2023 4th (to 3rd team retaining salary)
When looking at the Lightning's recent struggles, one thing sticks out like a sore thumb: the defense has worsened, but the offense generated by defensemen is the best it's been all season. Enter Justin Braun. The 35-year-old has been a very solid defensive defenseman for a defensively-poor Philadelphia Flyers. While his offense has slowed down, he's tied his career high in goals this season (five) and hasn't been totally non-existent in the offensive zone. Sounds a little like David Savard, right? Well...
Let's see if BriseBois goes to pick up another David Savard-type player.
- Contract status: $1.8M (2022 UFA)
- Price: Cal Foote, 2022 1st, 2023 3rd
Rarely do you see an analytical darling on the Buffalo Sabres. Mark Pysyk seems like an exception, and someone the Lightning could really use. Much like Braun, he's right handed and good defensively. Unlike Braun, he's a black hole offensively. Not everyone needs to be an offensive dynamo, and allowing Pysyk to do his thing defensively would be refreshing for the Lightning.
- Contract: Contract status: $900,000 (2022 UFA)
- Price: Cal Foote, 2022 1st
Talk about big boys.
At 6'3", 224 ibs., Paul would certainly beef up the Lightning's forward core. It certainly helps that Paul is having a career season offensively, topping 10 goals for the first time in his NHL career and is on pace to beat his career-high of 20 points. The 26-year-old is most likely getting moved at the deadline, and has developed into the perfect type of Bolt. Paul plays on both the wing and at center, and has been a middle-of-the-pack defender over his career.
- Contract status: $1.35M (2022 UFA)
- Price: 2023 4th
This one doesn't make a ton of sense. The Lightning have been heavily linked to the 26-year-old defenseman. However, he shoots left, he takes a lot of penalties, and the reported asking price of a 2nd round pick is astronomical. The Lightning could certainly use defensive depth, even on their strong side, but they have to be wary about overpaying for someone as unproven as Middleton (57 games played).
- Contract status: $725,000 (2022 RFA)
- Price: 2023 3rd (at most)
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