Analyzing the Lightning’s Trade Deadline Moves

Matt Dumba defends the ice
Photo Credit: Ross D. Franklin/AP

Heading into the 2024 Trade Deadline, it was crystal clear that the Tampa Bay Lightning needed a veteran presence on the blue line and scoring outside of their top line. Everyone agreed that if they didn’t get that, the chances of clinching a seventh straight postseason berth would be increasingly difficult.

Other than taking on 25 percent of Adam Henrique’s salary in a three team trade with the Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Ducks for a conditional 2026 fourth round draft pick, general manager Julien Brisebois stayed quiet until the final 24 hours leading up to the deadline. Sure, there were rumblings about him being interested in Noah Hanifin, Sean Walker, and Vladimir Tarasenko, but ultimately, the price was too high.

CLICK FOR FULL TRADE ARTICLE
CLICK FOR FULL TRADE ARTICLE

While his team was busy getting smoked by a rebuilding Calgary Flames team on home ice the night of March 7, Brisebois was in his office completing a trade. The San Jose Sharks sent winger Anthony Duclair and a seventh-round pick in 2025 to the Lightning for minor league defenseman Jack Thompson and a third-round selection this summer.

Not considered to be the flashiest move, Duclair can play anywhere in the lineup and produce at a decent clip. He also adds another dimension to an already potent power play by providing a screen in front of opposing goaltenders, giving other guys time to pick their spot and shoot. If his first game is any indication, the Duke (as he’s called by many) will make the Lightning offense better than it was. Just watch this play, where captain Steven Stamkos misses on a breakaway but wins the puck back along the wall and finds Duclair on the doorstep if you need any convincing.

The best part about getting Duclair is the fact that the cost made sense. Brisebois only gave up a single defenseman, who was currently with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch, and a third-rounder in the upcoming draft. Being a rental could have played a role in that, but last season, the Lightning general manager sent five draft picks and Cal Foote to the Nashville Predators for a rental player in Tanner Jeannot. Yes, Jeannot was re-signed, but he hasn’t been worth the acquisition cost so far. Re-signing Duclair could be a challenge, as Stamkos still needs a new deal, and Brandon Hagel’s new contract takes effect starting in the 2024-25 season. Plus, Mikhail Sergachev and his $9.5 million cap hit should be back in the lineup. Even subtracting Tyler Motte, Austin Watson, Calvin De Haan, and Haydn Fleury likely won’t open up enough space to re-sign the captain, along with prospect Mitchell Chaffee and possibly Duclair.

Another player Brisebois brought in was Matt Dumba from the Arizona Coyotes. The full trade saw Dumba and a 2025 seventh-round pick sent to the Lightning, with a 2027 fifth-rounder going the other way.

Dumba brings tenacity, a competitive nature, and lots of physicality to the Lightning back end. He isn’t afraid to dish out big hits or mix it up if needed. That much became evident in his first game, as he didn’t hesitate to drop the gloves with Philadelphia Flyers captain Sean Couturier mere hours after arriving in Tampa. He also is used to playing big minutes, something that the Bolts need with Sergachev out for the remainder of this season. His acquisition came at a great time too, as Erik Cernak left the game against the Flyers with an ankle or leg injury that didn’t look good initially. The team doesn’t know the extent, but there’s no doubt the defense has taken another hit.

With these acquisitions, Brisebois made the Lightning better without mortgaging their future. Dumba and Duclair both help this team in their quest to make the playoffs and allow them to keep building with an eye towards the future. That’s a win for an organization that is trying to remain competitive while pressed up against the salary cap.

Lauren Burg

Lauren Burg is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer for “Inside the Rink.” A lifelong Tampa Bay Area resident, she graduated from the University of South Florida’s world-renowned journalism program in December 2009. While in college, she discovered hockey and the Tampa Bay Lightning. She quickly became a passionate fan, attending many games over the years. She also experienced an All-Star game in 2018, numerous road games, and, most recently, the Bolts back-to-back Stanley Cup championships. Since graduating college, she’s been working hard to combine her two loves, writing and hockey, hoping to one day make that her full-time career. In her free time, she enjoys attending sporting events (both home & road when possible), taking photos, and traveling.

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