Lightning Successes with Short-Term Playoff Rentals

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s general manager (GM) Julien BriseBois is either very lucky or brilliant. Every season he seems to find new players to help his team advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

When BriseBois brought in Pat Maroon, who had just won a Cup with his hometown St. Louis Blues in 2018-19, it was to make the Lightning tougher to play against given that they were swept in the first round of the playoffs the previous season. When Nick Paul joined the team at the trade deadline last season, he made an immediate impact and was signed to a long-term deal. Brandon Hagel, who also was acquired at last year’s trade deadline, is emerging as a dominant two-way player and is expected to be re-signed this offseason.

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But what about the “rentals”, the players brought in to make a deep run in the playoffs and then, more than likely, be traded after the season or the next? The Lightning have had some pretty amazing rentals in the past few years. Let’s see how they contributed to the Bolts’ success and where they are now.

Kevin Shattenkirk

Although Kevin Shattenkirk only played one season for the Lightning (2019-20), he came away with a Stanley Cup in that short time. It was obvious that the team needed to be more physical after being embarrassed by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the playoffs after a historic 128-win season. So when he came on board, the veteran defenseman shored up the blue line with 32 takeaways, 66 blocks, and 62 hits in 70 games. He continued his valuable play during the postseason by adding 13 points, 39 blocks, 54 hits, and nine takeaways.

Kevin Shattenkirk Tampa Bay Lightning
Kevin Shattenkirk won a Stanley Cup in his only season with the Tampa Bay Lightning (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

His overtime goal in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Dallas Stars proved why he was the 14th player taken in the first round by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2007 NHL Draft. When he joined the Lightning, he made it known that he wanted to join a Stanley Cup contender…which he did. His presence helped them win their second Cup in franchise history. He then signed as a free agent with the Anaheim Ducks where he has played for the past three seasons.

Barclay Goodrow

Coach Jon Cooper has a way with words. When he described Barclay Goodrow as the Lightning’s four-wheel drive Jeep, he encapsulated everything that made the 6-foot-2 center such a valuable player. “You can’t have all Ferraris,” he added.

The Lightning gave up a first-round draft pick to acquire Goodrow from the San Jose Sharks. He proved he was worthy of the price paid for his services when he scored the third-period game-winning goal in Game 1 of the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Carolina Hurricanes. In his two seasons with the Lightning, he scored 12 postseason points. Since joining the New York Rangers, two seasons ago, he has become a veteran presence and was named an alternate captain.

Blake Coleman

Playing on the Lightning’s productive third line with Yanni Gourde and Goodrow, Blake Coleman became a dynamic player during his two seasons with the Lightning in 2019-20 and 2020-21.

In Game 2 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final against the Montreal Canadiens, Goodrow assisted on Coleman’s game-winning goal with 1.1 seconds left in the second period.

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After winning his second Cup with Tampa, the Calgary Flames signed Coleman to a six-year contract worth $4.9 million average annual value on July 28, 2021. The team finished first in the Pacific Division in his first season and made the playoffs before losing to the Edmonton Oilers in the second round.

David Savard

David Savard was a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets when they humiliated the Lightning in the 2018-19 postseason. The following season, Columbus was ousted in the first round by Tampa and hasn’t had any postseason success since then.

David Savard Blue Jackets
David Savard played against the Lightning as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Feb. 22, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

When Zach Bogosian left the Lightning to sign as a free agent with the Toronto Maple Leafs after winning the Cup, the team traded for Savard at the trade deadline. He only played 14 regular season games with the team before advancing to the postseason, where he played 20 games and contributed five assists. The 6-foot-1, 235-pound defenseman was the epitome of a rental player. Although he only played 34 games with the team, he filled a needed role and won his only Stanley Cup.

Forever a Bolt

Each of these rental players have contributed to the Lightning’s two consecutive Stanley Cups. Their names will always be associated with Tampa’s championships. Although none have reached the success that they achieved with the Bolts, they have some cherished memories and very impressive Stanley Cup rings.

It appears that BriseBois is more brilliant than lucky. We’ll see what the master does at the 2023 Trade Deadline. In any case, any player interested in pursuing a Stanley Cup should talk with BriseBois.

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