The Ottawa Senators and the Tampa Bay Lightning have just pulled off a huge 4 player trade, one that many have been expecting since the start of the offseason.
According to an official announcement from the Ottawa Senators, they have acquired defenseman Braydon Coburn, forward Cedric Paquette and a second round pick at the 2022 National Hockey League Entry draft in exchange for forward Marian Gaborik and goaltender Anders Nilsson.
The move is clearly designed to be a cap clearing trade on the part of the Lightning and frankly will feel like a steal for fans of the Ottawa Senators who are walking away with a clear win on this one. Coburn and Paquette are both good NHL players and to get a second round draft pick as part of the package as well is a stroke of genius on the part of Senators general manager Pierre Dorion who admittedly had all of the leverage imaginable in this trade.
There have been reports that Anders Nilsson continues to deal with concussion related symptoms even this late into the offseason and I suspect that his inclusion in this trade deal comes with the expectation that he will spend the entire season on long term injured reserve (LTIR). This means that although the Lightning are acquiring Nilsson's cap hit of $2.6 million as a part of this trade deal, that cap hit will be buried on LTIR once the regular season begins making this a very desirable contract for a team like the Lightning. The inclusion of Marian Gaborik's contract in this deal, a player who last played during the 2017 - 2018 season, works in exactly the same way.
There's not much here, nothing at all in fact, for the Lightning from a hockey perspective but they will get themselves out from under some of their cap troubles. Paquette's cap hit of $1.65 million is now completely off the books which represents a not insignificant savings and, when combined with the $1.7 million that Coburn would have counted for this season, the real asset for the Lightning in this trade is the $3.35 million they will save against the cap next season.
No other way to paint this other than as a huge win for Pierre Dorion and his Ottawa Senators if you're looking at this from a pure hockey perspective, but the Lightning will be very happy to have walked away with that significant cap savings from this deal.