Hide the hot dogs, Tampa. A new sniper is headed to town thanks to an enterprising deal by Bolts GM Wes Muyck at the halfway mark of the season.
Phil "The Thrill" Kessel is headed to Tampa, and the Hot dog stand business in the area has seen an immediate rise in its competitiveness as an explosion in the number of stands rose.
The Tampa Bay Lightning struck the trade market this past week as they made 3 deals. Since joining the Tampa Bay organization, GM and team President Wes Mucyk has made many changes.
Immediately upon his arrival, he made an overhaul to the off-ice staff and the franchise's prospect pool. Since then, with most of this season's Lightning roster being signed during free agency, everyone but Auston Matthews, Kirby Dach, Pavel Buchnevich, and MacKenzie Blackwood has been moved.
One thing that the Tampa fan base has made clear, and we are sure that the organization also hopes to avoid, is seeing their 1st round pick this year, which the previous management regime traded away, end up as a top pick and have their own painful (like the Seguin + Hamilton or Byram) draft ending.
This season has saw Dach, the Lightning's center on the 2nd line, have no one on his wings with him to finish, and the best option to play on the wing with Matthews has been Derick Brassard and Buchnevich.
"These recent moves will now give us a top line that actually looks like a top-line and allows Buchnevich to drop down to the 2nd line finally giving Dach an option to pass too, commented Muyck. "They will balance out our top 6, allow us to slot our players a lot better, like Brassard moving down to the 3rd line."
The development of Martin Necas and Dach was one of the key factors when we made these deals.
"Myself and the organization would like to thank Hammer, (Andreas) Athanasiou, (Kevin) Lankinen, and (Lawson) Crouse. We wish them all the best going forward."
Looking ahead, the Lightning have a couple of key forwards that they see being part of their future in Dach, Necas and Matthews. On the backend, it seems like they hope that Travis Sanheim and Esa Lindell will stick around for a while. In the crease, the Lightning still has faith that Blackwood is their guy here for years to come.
Next season we expect to see at least 3 guys make the jump to the pro team and join the forward group. Tampa has been stockpiling picks for the next 3 drafts as they continue to stay focused on both the now and the future.
After losing most of their roster following last season, then having no luck in free agency, talks have been ongoing between the Lightning with pending UFA Pavel Buchnevich, as the team hopes to bring him back.
Will these moves help further the development of the young guys here in Tampa while also trying to avoid a finish near the bottom of the standings?