Lightning Deadline Deals Looking Better Even With Stoppage

The 2019-20 NHL season will go down as one of the weirdest in league history. With the coronavirus halting play and no timetable for a return, there’s a real possibility that the league will not be able to finish out the season, or worse, crown the next Stanley Cup Champion.

For the Tampa Bay Lightning, a potentially lost season hits even harder. After melting down in the 2019 Playoffs, the franchise needed a deep run to help purge some of last year’s demons.

Related: Lightning Risk Seeing Their Cup Window Slam Shut

Until the break, the Lightning were doing everything they could to put themselves in a position to win it all. Despite a weak start, they surged in January, becoming one of the top-five teams in the league before the season was suspended.

In fact, at the 2020 trade deadline, the Lightning went all in, making two big moves to add playoff-defining players to their roster. With the acquisition of Black Coleman and Barclay Goodrow, Tampa Bay added new veteran talent to shore up their lineup for the playoffs.

Blake Coleman Tampa Bay Lightning
Blake Coleman was one of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s big trades at the 2020 trade deadline. (Photo by Scott Audette /NHLI via Getty Images)

With the postseason in jeopardy, it’s easy to wonder if these moves were made at the right time. However, even if the playoffs don’t happen in 2020, these trades won’t be a waste for the franchise.

Lightning Traded for More Than One Season

See, the whole reason why the Lightning gave up a premium for those two players was due to one simple reason: their contracts. Both Goodrow and Coleman are under contract through the 2020-21 season, making them more than just a rental.

Related: Lightning’s 3 Best Trades of the Decade

Also, both players are on relatively affordable deals next season. Coleman, who is a 20-goal scorer, is making $1.8 million, where Goodrow is carrying a $925,000 cap-hit.

Barclay Goodrow San Jose Sharks
With a cap-hit of less than $1 million for the 2020-21 season, Barclay Goodrow brings needed value for the Lightning. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

If the Lightning had traded for a traditional rental at the deadline, this work stoppage would have been devastating, as the team would have given up two first-round draft selections and a top prospect for what amounted to less than a month of work from these players.

Instead, even if the worst-case scenario happens and the season is lost, the Lightning are still in good shape. Their deadline acquisitions will get a normal offseason and training camp to work with their new coaches and teammates before taking on the 2020-21 season ready to win it all.

How Coleman and Goodrow Fit for the Playoffs

Of course, those deadline acquisitions weren’t made just for the 2020-21 season. If things can get back to normal this season, then Lightning fans will get to see why a premium was paid for Goodrow and Coleman. These players are built for the playoffs after all, and before play was suspended they were starting to showcase what they could bring to Tampa Bay.

Related: Tampa Bay Lightning’s 50-Goal Scores

In a playoffs-esque game against the Boston Bruins, Goodrow showed that he could add that mythical ‘grit’ to the lineup, helping to spark the Lightning to a win with a fight and hard hits.

Barclay Goodrow San Jose Sharks
While the Lightning may have overpaid for Goodrow at the 2020 trade deadline, he was bringing a needed element to the franchise before play was suspended. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

While Coleman has yet to bring his offensive game to Tampa Bay, his 25 hits in 9 games put him on pace to be a leader in that department for the franchise. If he starts scoring while keeping up the physical play, that combination could be a difference-maker in a tight playoff series.

If Season Continues, Lightning’s Deadline Acquisitions Will Be Ready

If the playoffs happen, both Coleman and Goodrow have shown that they can bring a needed element to the Lightning’s line-up that can help the franchise take the next step towards winning a Stanley Cup.

No matter what happens to the 2019-20 NHL season, the Lightning have to be feeling good about their trade deadline decisions. At the moment, it felt like management overpaid, but by giving up a bit more they managed to bring back players who will help the franchise now and for the future.