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Johnson Gives Tampa Bay a List of Teams

October 8, 2020, 5:42 PM ET [14 Comments]
Michael Stuart
Tampa Bay Lightning Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The National Hockey League Entry Draft looked to be a prime opportunity for Tampa Bay Lightning GM Julien BriseBois to work his magic and clear desperately-needed cap space for his team. That obviously didn’t happen, so there’s still much work to be done.

The good news coming out of the draft, though, is that Tyler Johnson has reportedly given BriseBois a list of five or six teams to which he would accept a trade. Given that Johnson is the proud owner of a full no-trade clause, this is a massive step in the right direction:

Chatter coming out of the draft suggested that the Lightning were looking for either a first or second round pick in exchange for Johnson, which was obviously too steep for any of the potential suitors. Teams (not run by Jim Benning) simply aren’t going to give up that kind of asset value to help the Lightning out of a cap crunch.

The other thing to consider here is that the media reporting on Johnson was noticeably silent about which specific teams were actually included on his approved trade list. There’s always the possibility that he listed at least a few teams with similar cap issues, thereby making the Lightning’s pool of options even smaller. With some believing that Johnson has his eye on the Seattle Kraken if he can’t continue with Tampa Bay, it certainly wouldn’t be a shock to see the player retain complete control of his situation. He earned that contractual protection, and deserves the option to use it to his benefit.

Of course, the question we’re left with is: What now? Given that nothing happened at the draft, my completely baseless hunch is that the Lightning are going to be left in limbo until the free agency dust settles after Friday. Teams that miss out on their preferred targets may circle back to the Bolts asking about Johnson or Alex Killorn, but at this stage opposing teams would be foolish to pull the trigger on a trade before checking in on the free market. We’re in “wait and see” mode now.

As always, thanks for reading.
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