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Report: Tyler Johnson, Lightning Working on Trade After Stanley Cup Win

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 6, 2020

Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson plays against the Nashville Predators in an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

The Tampa Bay Lightning and veteran forward Tyler Johnson are reportedly working on finding a potential trade fit.

Johnson has a no-trade clause, but according to TSN's Darren Dreger, he has given the Lightning "several teams to work with" as they attempt to find a taker.

The 30-year-old Johnson, who has spent all of his eight NHL seasons with the Lightning, helped guide Tampa to a Stanley Cup championship last season, recording four goals and three assists in 25 playoff games.

Per CapFriendly, Johnson has four years remaining on his contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $5 million, meaning he could be difficult to move unless the Bolts are willing to eat part of the contract.

Johnson was once among Tampa Bay's top offensive contributors, as he put up a career-high 29 goals and 72 points in 2014-15. His high point total in a season since then is just 50, and he finished with only 31 points in 65 regular-season games last season.

With that said, Johnson is just two years removed from tying his career high of 29 goals, and that scoring upside may be enough for a team to take a chance on him, especially if that team can put the 5'8", 180-pound center alongside some other highly talented offensive players.

Johnson's production in Tampa has largely depended on his supporting cast. He has put up numbers when playing next to the likes of Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos or Brayden Point, but when placed in a lesser role, his scoring has naturally suffered.

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Johnson has long been a quality depth player for the Lightning, but they could really benefit from his $5 million cap hit coming off the books.

Defenseman Mikhail Sergachev is a restricted free agent this offseason. Veteran blueliner Kevin Shattenkirk is an unrestricted free agent, and they would likely love to re-sign him if possible.

Veteran forward Patrick Maroon is a UFA and forward Anthony Cirelli is an RFA. On top of that, Point will reach RFA status at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season.

The salary cap forces NHL teams to make difficult decisions, and they usually end up keeping their stars and letting some of the complementary pieces go.

Johnson is a secondary player at this point in his career, and although the Lightning may no longer have room for him, he could be a quality fit for another contending team or a team in need of veteran leadership if they are able to clear enough cap space to accommodate him.

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