Lightning Trade Block: Alex Killorn

When Alex Killorn made his debut with the Tampa Bay Lightning, he represented a beacon of hope for the franchise. As the first big name to work his way through the team’s minor league system after Steve Yzerman and company took over in 2010, he showed that the Lightning were committed to developing their future tfrom with.

As we approach the 2019 offseason, Killorn’s role with the franchise has changed. He is now seen as a bit of a negative for the team, signed to a bloated seven-year, $4.45 million per year contract that is often ridiculed by the fanbase.

Related: The Lightning’s 4 Worst Contracts

In the grand scheme of things, Killorn’s contract isn’t a cap-breaker for the Lightning. What it does represent, though, is the confusion behind what his role is supposed to be with the franchise. He is a jack-of-all-trades player who doesn’t excel at anything in particular. He is a good player, just with the term of a great player.

With four seasons left on his seven-year extension, could this be the offseason that Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois attempts to offload Killorn’s contract? Or, will the franchise stick with their veteran forward as his relevance with the team begins to fade?

The Case for Keeping Killorn

When Killorn is playing well, he is a good or even great hockey player. He can score goals, eat up time on the penalty kill, add a decent net-front presence on the power play all while giving the line-up some needed size and strength.

Sure, he doesn’t often showcase his power-forward build, but the times when Killorn bowls through the opposition while scoring a goal is a thing of beauty.

Alex Killorn
When Alex Killorn is playing up to his full potential, he can be one of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s most explosive players. (Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)

Besides this, Killorn is a clutch playoff performer. Throughout his career, he has scored 21 goals and 41 points in the postseason. This makes him the fifth-highest playoff scorer in that stretch of time for the Lightning, putting him ahead of the likes of Steven Stamkos.

So, while he may not have the sexiest stats during the regular season, Killorn certainly knows how to turn it on when it matters most.

The Case for Trading Killorn

To put it bluntly, Killorn is the most maddeningly inconsistent player on the Lightning’s roster. If you only looked at his end of the season totals, you may not notice this, as he is good for around 17 goals and 40 points a season.

The issue is how he gets those points. Killorn is the type of player who will get hot for four or five games, registering a handful of points each night then completely disappearing for the next month. This inconsistency is the trademark of his career, which has prevented him from breaking the 20-goal mark.

Colorado Avalanche Semyon Varlamov Tampa Bay Lightning Alex Killorn
As one of the Lightning’s streakiest scorers, Killorn can dominate a few games, then disappear from the scoresheet for weeks at a time. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Given that Killorn has solid scoring totals at the end of each season, though, he might be an attractive depth option for a team. His contract isn’t overbearing for his production, so the Lightning may be able to entice a trade with only a small addition to sweeten the pot.

This would help open up some needed wiggle-room for the Lightning, not just for now but for the next four years.

Will Lightning Trade Killorn?

Given the time left on his contract, the Lightning will be hard-pressed to trade their veteran winger. Even if there is interest in him, he has a no-trade clause until the 2020-21 season, meaning that he would need to waive that before a trade would be possible.

Despite this, there is a real opportunity for the Lightning to trade Killorn next offseason. If he can post another 40-point year while having a strong postseason, he would likely garner some interest from a franchise wanting to add a player who is locked down for a few more seasons.

Alex Killorn
Despite his inconsistent play, Killorn could still be a valuable role player for a franchise other than the Lightning. (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)

There is good news for the Lightning in all of this, though. Given his poise in the playoffs, Killorn can still be a real asset for the team. He is the type of player who may underperform during the regular season, but go out and score the winning goal in a Game 7.

While that may be a bit of a best-case scenario, it would push Killorn’s legacy back into the positive. For now, his history with the team is as inconsistent as his nightly play.