There might be multiple trades this season and prior to the March 21 trade deadline in the NHL, but don’t expect the Tampa Bay Lightning to be a part of many discussions. In fact, the Lightning don’t believe they’ll be active at all, simply because they don’t have the means to make a move and they don’t have Nikita Kucherov on LTIR like the team did last season.
Joe Smith of The Athletic is reporting that GM Julien BriseBois has made comments about his team’s plans this season and that he doesn’t see the Lightning getting involved in much, if anything at all because of their salary cap position.
BriseBois said: “This year, we have no cap space. We have no one we can send to the minors without requiring waivers, and none of our players would clear waivers.” Noting that the only way to add a player would be to remove one, he added, “all of our players are good players on good contracts and provide really good value.”
It’s a good problem for the Lightning to have, in that they aren’t carrying any contracts with bloated salaries, nor are they being forced to keep a player on their roster who isn’t pulling their weight. BriseBois noted it was unlikely the team would find a player that brings more value compared to their cap hit.
The Lightning Have Played It Shy Before
While the situation is a bit different this year than last, the Lightning have claimed they didn’t intend to be active on the trade front and then added David Savard just days later. Just when you think the team can’t or won’t go better, they go out and make a move.
With that in mind, don’t be shocked if the Lightning make a move. It might not be a big one, but BriseBois will certainly have his eyes and ears open.