Everyone knows that the Tampa Bay Lightning will have some tough choices ahead of them this offseason and it seems as though Julien Brisebois, the Lightning's general manager, has already decided which of those difficult decisions will come first.
On Sunday night NHL insider Pierre LeBrun revealed that the Lightning are currently trying to work out a trade deal with 30 year old center Tyler Johnson, a player that has been a core part of the Lightning's roster for several years now. This will not be an easy to get done however and frankly I wonder just how willing Johnson will be willing to accept a trade to another team given that he has just captured a Stanley Cup title with the Lightning.
I say accept because arguably the biggest hurdle for Brisebois and the Lightning to overcome here will be the fact that Johnson currently has a full no move clause in his contract, and will have one until the end of next season. Once we enter the final 3 years of his contract Johnson's full no trade clause will become a 20 team no trade list, so even then the player could in theory make things very difficult for the Lightning if he chose to do so. There's one more thing that will make this very difficult and that will be the fact that Johnson is very likely to earn less real dollars on this deal if he ends up playing somewhere else. Florida does not have a state tax and for this reason players who sign long-term with the Lightning have been willing to take slightly less money than they would normally get on the open market, because without the state tax they end up earning more over time anyways.
Why would Tyler Johnson agree to leave arguably the best team in the National Hockey League, only to go there and earn a lesser salary than the one he negotiated for with the Lightning? Out of the goodness of his heart? Out of loyalty to the team that is now trying to get rid of him? I suspect that this deal may be a very difficult one for the Lightning to pull off.