Lightning Trade Ryan McDonagh to Predators For Myers & Mismash

The Tampa Bay Lightning have traded star defenceman Ryan McDonagh to the Nashville Predators in exchange for fellow blueliner Philippe Myers and forward Grant Mismash, the Lightning announced on Sunday. This came after reports on June 30 from insider Elliotte Friedman that they were working with McDonagh to find a good trade fit for him.

“According to multiple sources, the Lightning are working with Ryan McDonagh to see if there’s another team he’d consider a trade to. It’s a very, very hard thing for Tampa to think about. McDonagh’s still a tremendous player (he was on the ice for the last shift to preserve the team’s Game 5 victory in Denver that prolonged the Stanley Cup Final) and is hugely popular among his teammates, who were disappointed to hear of the possibility. It’s not what Tampa wants to do, but may have to do.”

Ryan McDonagh Tampa Bay Lightning
Ryan McDonagh, Tampa Bay Lightning (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

McDonagh just finished his fourth full season with the Lightning after being traded to the Sunshine State from the New York Rangers in 2018. He will end his tenure with 20 goals and 99 points in 267 games along with 23 points in the playoffs. He also raised the Stanley Cup twice.

Related: Lightning May Have Painful Cap Answer in McDonagh Trade

McDonagh is a valuable veteran defenceman who still can play over 20 minutes a night in all situations, so he should be a huge addition to a Predators blue line that already boasts the likes of Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm and a rising star in Dante Fabbro. After losing Ryan Ellis, Shea Weber and PK Subban in recent years, he will make the Predators’ defence corps a veritable force in the Western Conference once again. He also wanted to go there, as he had to waive his no-trade clause to be dealt. He could conceivably end his career in Music City too, with four seasons remaining on a cap hit of $6.75 million in average annual value (AAV).

The Predators also got Mismash in the deal, who was a second-round pick by the Predators in 2017. The 23-year-old had six goals and 12 points in his first season with the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League last season.

Lightning Free Cap Space To Potentially Retain Palat

After re-signing key bottom-six forward Nick Paul to a seven-year extension on July 1, the Lightning needed to clear more cap space to potentially re-sign other major pieces in Ondrej Palat and Jan Rutta. While it was tough to trade a locker room favorite in McDonagh, it had to be done to keep other key players on the roster.

Before the McDonagh deal, the Lightning were facing the prospect of losing Palat in free agency. Now with the cap savings of $6.75 million, they will likely re-sign him at a “hometown discount”. As for the defenceman they got in the deal, Myers could be bought out. According to Friedman, they would save $617,000 in cap space in 2022-23, but owe $633,000 in 2023-24.

Ondrej Palat Tampa Bay Lightning
Ondrej Palat, Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo by Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

McDonagh will definitely be missed on the blue line in 2022-23, but the move could open up an opportunity for Cal Foote to take on a bigger role. The 23-year-old played 56 games with the Lightning in 2021-22, recording two goals and nine points. However, he only got an average of 13:08 in ice time. Unless they sign someone else in free agency, look for that number to rise substantially. Rutta, if retained, will also likely see more time too.

All in all, general manager Julien BriseBois and his staff completed another feat of cap gymnastics to free up space to potentially keep the core together for another Stanley Cup run. Palat, who was a seventh-round pick by the Lightning in 2011, has spent his entire career with the franchise and has accumulated 143 goals and 423 points in 628 games along with 48 goals and 94 points in the playoffs. He has been instrumental in their two Cup wins, so it’s really no surprise that BriseBois would bend over backwards to have a chance to keep him in Tampa for a little bit longer. This McDonagh trade gives him the opportunity to do just that.