Lightning Rumors: Anthony Cirelli Becoming Potential Trade Candidate

As the Tampa Bay Lightning prepare for a crucial offseason, speculation intensifies around potential roster changes, particularly concerning Anthony Cirelli.

With the organization facing salary cap challenges and needing to secure extensions for key players like Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman, Cirelli's $6.25 million annual cap hit has thrust him into trade speculation, as noted by Eduardo A. Encina of the Tampa Bay Times.

Although Cirelli is an essential part of the Lightning as their second-line center and a top defensive forward, his contract lacks a no-trade clause, making him a viable candidate for a trade that could offer the necessary financial relief.

That being said, it seems hard to believe the Lightning would move on from the talented young forward, especially after he just signed an 8-year, $50M contract in 2022 and had a career-best season this past year.

The possibility of trading Cirelli poses a significant dilemma for the Lightning. His departure could severely impact the team's depth and chemistry, however, attributes that have been pivotal in their playoff successes.

This past season, the 26-year-old recorded 20 goals and 25 assists for 45 total points over 79 games played, a career-best in goals and points for him.

Cirelli's role in the team extends beyond regular season contributions; his performance in the playoffs, where depth and versatility are crucial, underscores his value. Trading him could fetch valuable assets and cap space, but it would also mean losing a player who has been integral to both the offensive and defensive aspects of the game.

While trading Cirelli could provide some immediate cap relief, it could also alter the team’s dynamic significantly, raising questions about the Lightning's ability to contend for future championships.

Over his 7-year career, spent solely with Tampa Bay, Cirelli has 97 goals and 136 assists for 233 total points across 431 games played. Photo Credit:  Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports