As the Tampa Bay Lightning approached the 2020 NHL trade deadline, it appeared that the team’s roster was set. Unlike in 2019, when general manager Julien BriseBois decided to stand-pat, the Lightning went out and made a huge trade for Blake Coleman a week before the deadline, giving up the Vancouver Canucks’ first-round pick and top prospect Nolan Foote.
It turns out, however, that BriseBois was not done. In the waning minutes of the deadline, he made a second swing to add depth to his line up. This time, he acquired role player Barclay Goodrow and a third-round pick from the San Jose Sharks for the Lightning’s first-round selection.
To say that this move was a bit of a shock would be an understatement, as BriseBois gave up a first-rounder in an incredibly deep draft for a player that only registered eight goals and 24 points throughout the 2019-20 season.
Now, with their first playoff series behind them, we can start to understand why BriseBois payed such a hefty price for Goodrow’s services.
What the Lightning Got in Goodrow
It didn’t take long for Goodrow to showcase why BriseBois wanted him at the deadline. Playoff hockey is a different beast than anything else in the sports, and you need a certain something to excel at it.
After eight postseason games, you can tell that Goodrow has that something. That defensive responsibility mixed with offensive potential that can keep opponents backpedaling no matter where they are on the ice.
In eight games, Goodrow is second in plus-minus for the Lightning, has played the fourth-most time short-handed (without being on-ice for a short-handed goal against), has only taken one penalty himself, and is second in hits with 29.
As a member of the Lightning’s third-line, Goodrow has looked dominant alongside Yanni Gourde and Coleman. Yes, he has only scored one goal himself, but he has been that Swiss-Army knife forward that the Bolts needed in their line-up. He generates scoring opportunities whenever he is on the ice, without giving the opponent the chance to push back themselves.
What the Lightning Gave up for Goodrow
After his strong postseason start, the question becomes… did the Lightning still give up too much for a bottom-six player? A first-round pick is a steep price to pay, especially in such an incredible draft year.
Related: 2020 NHL Draft Guide
However, what is often lost in the discussion is that Tampa Bay got back a third-round pick in the deal as well. While this pick was originally the Philadelphia Flyers and not the Sharks, it still holds a lot of value to the Lightning.
Even if they get knocked out in Round-2 and the Flyers win the Stanley Cup, that would mean that the Lightning moved back from the 25th overall pick to the 93rd. While that is a significant drop in the draft, it brought back a player they need right now and for the future.
See, Goodrow is an incredible value, making just $925,00 for the 2020-21 season. Given the flat cap next season due to everything, the Lightning will be in need of bargain contracts now more than ever to help fill in the line-up with quality players.
So, Was Goodrow Worth It for the Lightning?
In a vacuum, trading a first-round pick for a bottom-six forward is not a great use of value. However, by moving back roughly 70 spots in the draft, BriseBois gave himself room to trade a veteran forward with value at the 2020 Draft while adding a player of need for both a 2020 and 2021 playoff push.
Most importantly, after seeing Goodrow slot into the Lightning’s line-up alongside Gourde and Coleman, you immediately understand why BriseBois made that deal. He didn’t trade for just any bottom-six forward, but for the exact player Tampa Bay needed.
Sure, in five years we may look back at the superstar that the Sharks drafted and wonder ‘what if,’ but in the now, BriseBois took a gamble back in February that appears to already be paying off in the 2020 Postseason.
All statistics take from: NHL.com/stats
Eugene Helfrick is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer who is actually from Tampa Bay. He has written about the Lightning for six years, covering everything from their run to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, to their crushing first-round exit in 2019, to their redemption in the bubble in 2020. While he is happy to talk about just about anything from cows to cars to video games, hockey will always remain one of his favorite pastimes.