Lightning Add Size And Skill For Playoff Run

It was a busy couple of days for the Tampa Bay Lightning as the Bolts added three new players to the roster.

In the first of three moves, the Lightning made a significant trade with the Chicago Blackhawks, acquiring 22 year old forward Brandon Hagel.

The price was steep as the Bolts sent forwards Taylor Raddysh, Boris Katchouk, and two first-round picks, one in 2023 and the other in 2024 for the 22-year-old Hagel.

What is so special about Hagel that the Lightning mortgaged the future? His scoring and his physical play. You can never have enough scoring, especially with the playoffs approaching. Hagel had 21 goals and 37 points with Chicago and three game-winning goals.

Hagel has been called a “swiss army knife” as he seems to be able to contribute in many different ways. Hagel also has a very friendly contract, as he is signed for the next two seasons at $1.5 million per.

The Lightning gave up a lot to acquire Hagel, but according to GM Julien BriseBois, Hagel can help this team go deep into the playoffs. “We got to see him play a lot last season when Chicago was in our division. We noticed how competitive he is and the consistency in his effort every shift. We’ve seen a growth in his play this year and his improved performance. We feel he not only improves our odds of winning a championship this season but also the next two seasons because he’s under contract for two more years, and the terms of his contract are providing the club with really good value.”

Hagel asked current teammate Tyler Johnson about the Lightning, and Johnson told him, “You’ll love it.”

Hagel said the Lightning are always a tough team to play against and will enjoy being on the other side for a change. “I’m excited to be on this winning team and a team that’s done it before and learn from the older guys as well. I’m new to the league as well and obviously a new team, and they have a lot of veteran guys there that know how to win and know what it takes to win. I’m excited to do that. I’m ready to learn from those guys, but at the same time, I’m ready to show what I’ve got and be a big part of this organization.”

Two days later, the Lightning sent another bottom-six forward, Matthieu Joseph, to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Nick Paul.

In 59 games with the Senators, Paul had 11 goals and 18 assists.

The Lightning looking to add size and physical play to the lineup, accomplished both of those goals with the acquisition of Nick Paul.

BriseBois was looking ahead to the playoffs when he made the trade for Paul. “His game is molded for playoff hockey success. He is big and heavy, and physical. He blocks a lot of shots, and he can play both center and wing.”

The Lightning re-acquired Riley Nash from the Arizona Coyotes for future considerations in a minor acquisition late Monday. Nash had a brief stint with the Lightning earlier this season before being put on waivers and claimed by Arizona.

Nash is an NHL veteran, having played in 627 career games over 11 seasons, scoring 63 goals. Nash will report to the Syracuse Crunch.

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