During the offseason, the lightning organization made a promise to its fans that the team will start being competitive in the east starting in the 2014 season. Since that time general manager Paul Lamarche has a variety of trades and signings to try and ensure that to happen. "I've traded traded some fantastic young talent and some very good draft picks which is something as an organization that we try to avoid doing, however we felt we were dealing from a position of strength. We were able to add a number 1 defenseman, a first and a 2nd line center. In order to acquire such valuable assets, unfortunately the price we have to pay is some of our youth". Here are the trades the organization has made along with the reason for making the deals and an analysis of how the deals stand right now.
On June 30th the team traded underperforming former number 1 overall pick, defenseman Erik Johnson to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Nicklas Hjallmarsson, Zack Smith and Henrik Samuelson. As an organization we really liked this deal as Johnson wasn't living up to his hype in the nhl and felt Hjallmarsson could easilly replace his minutes equally even as an improvement while also adding a good young prospect and a very reliable 4th line forward who could jump into the top 9 if needed. Even looking at the trade today where Erik Johnson is finally living up to his hype, we are still happy we made the deal as hjallmarson is having a great nhl season also and Samuelson was a piece that helped us land David Krejci, our number 1 center!
On draft day, the team traded its 1st round pick, number 10 Overall to the Pittsburgh Penguins for former number 6 overall pick Hampus Lindholm, up and coming forward Tyler Johnson and form 1st round pick Zack Phillips. We had our eye on Hunter Shinkaruk at the draft and when he was picked at number 9 right before we were up, we felt like we could afford to sacrifice a bit of future to try and add some assets to help us sooner. Lindholm is having a great rookie nhl season where he is on pace for 6 goals and 21 assists and will be very valuable for the next 3 years on his entry level contract. Johnson is also having a great rookie nhl season where he is on pace for 21 goals and 23 assists and is also going to be a great bargain for the lightning with a 4 year deal where he's only making 880K. Just those two players alone we are very happy with the deal, having gotten Phillips also who is fine tuning his game in the AHL is just icing on the cake!
On September 10th the team traded recently acquired Henrik Samuelson and former 1st round pick, Joel Armia to the Columbus Blue Jackets for T.J. Oshie. We then turned around and sent Oshie to the Canucks for star center David Krejci. While looking at our lineup, we felt like we were lacking a true number 1 center for the 2014-2015 season and when Krejci became available did what we had to do to get him. Samuelsson and Armia have a great chance to be top 6 forwards in the NEFHL one day but getting 6 years minimum out of David in his prime is well worth it.
Finally on December 11th in his boldest move yet, Lamarche traded away two future first round picks and former first round picks Olli Maatta and Valentin Zykov to the Dallas Stars for Kevin Shattenkirk and Patrice Bergeron. Also in the deal, the team got to dump the big salary of underperforming RW Erik Cole. Bergeron automatically slides into the number 2 center role behind Krejci and Shattenkirk instantly becomes the teams number 1 defenseman. We gave up a lot to get these two players but with the role they will play on this team its well worth it. Shattenkir is having a career year in the nhl where he is on pace for 13 goals and 61 points. Bergeron isn't having quite as good of a year but will still be a very reliable number 2 center for the next 6 years.
All in all, this is what the team gave up and what they got since the offseason:
IN: Kevin Shattenkirk, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Hampus Lindholm, Tyler Johnson, Nicklas Hjallmarsson, Zack Smith and Zack Phillips. ( 7 out of the 8 players will have valuable roles on the lightning next season.)
OUT: Erik Johnson, Eric Cole, Olli Maatta, 1st round picks in 2013, 2014 and 2015, Henrik Samuelsson, Joel Armia and Valentin Zykov. (Only Erik Johnson and Olli Maatta will have valuable roles in the NEFHL next season)
We are trying Tampa! We want you to be proud of your lightning team and starting next season we plan on making your proud on a consistent basis!