2 Trade Targets For the Tampa Bay Lightning

It's odd how much media silence there's been surrounding Tampa Bay's impressive season. Following back-to-back Stanley Cups, the Lightning once again sit near the top of the league standings. They've done this while weathering significant injuries to stars Nikita Kucherov, who is nearing his return, and Brayden Point, who returned a couple weeks ago. This on top of their own Covid issues that left them without either member of their goaltending tandem for a period of time. It's unusual for two-time Cup Champions to be flying under the radar, but here we are. The Lightning don't have a ton of needs in terms of shoring up their roster. Their defence is the envy of the NHL, and top-pairing righty Erik Cernak is nearing his own return from injury. Their top 6 forwards are some of the best around, and their rookies have taken elevated minutes and shown very well. The team is also right up against the salary cap, and utilizing LTIR money from Brent Seabrook to get by. That means any deal made will require money going out. That said, Tampa still has a 1st round pick to play with, as well as UFAs Ondrej Palat and Alex Killorn who may command more salary than the Lightning can afford next summer. There is some wiggle room here where the Lightning could make a deal. Here are two players they could target at this year's trade deadline,

Chris Tierney

Tierney's name has been floating around the league as a likely trade piece for the Senators this year. The 27-year old is in his fourth season in Ottawa sitting at 5 goals and 7 points in 29 games playing in a bottom 6 role. He makes $3.5 million until next summer. Tierney is the kind of affordable rental player that the Lightning could fit into their lineup. He hasn't made the playoffs since departing San Jose, but he's shown he can put up his share of point production in the post-season, including during the Sharks' run to the Finals in 2016 where he scored 5 goals and 9 points in 24 games. While the Lightning have been happy to allow their kids to play in the bottom 6, come playoff time the increased pressure may necessitate a more seasoned player to help fill out those positions, and Tierney fits that bill. He's the type of affordable forward the Lightning enjoy turning into a valuable contributor.

Ryan Dzingel

Once again playing on a team that will likely trade him for assets, Ryan Dzingel hasn't had much playoff success since his departure from Ottawa. Formerly a reliable 20-goal scorer, he hasn't managed to crack 10 goals in the last three seasons. He currently has 2 goals and 4 points in 16 games with the much-maligned Arizona Coyotes, after signing a 1-year deal with them last summer. He makes $1.1 million currently, an easily affordable contract that won't be difficult for Tampa to fit under their cap. He also won't command much in the way of return; a low-end draft pick at worst, a mid-tier prospect at best. Dzingel has been a goal-scorer in the past though, with his career-high of 26 goals coming just 3 years ago in 2019. It's a low-risk, high-reward type of deal that Tampa could easily turn into the steal of the deadline if they deploy him properly. As a bottom 6 forward, Dzingel adds speed and tenacity, and what he lacks in defensive ability could be easily mitigated by the league's best defence core, allowing him to focus on returning to his goal-scoring prowess from a few years ago. If he does well, he could also be a cheap bottom 6 option for Tampa going forward.

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