The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired forward Blake Coleman from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for prospect Nolan Foote and a 2020 first-round draft pick, according to Pierre LeBrun. This deal comes just hours after the Devils would also trade former-captain Andy Greene to the New York Islanders.
For the Lightning, this deal just further solidifies their roster as one of the very best in the entire NHL. With a 39-15-5 record and 83 points, good for second in the NHL, the Lightning are riding high on a 10-game winning streak and are looking to push for a deep playoff run this season.
Despite having a historic 2018-19 season that resulted in a President’s Trophy win, the Lightning ultimately fell short of their goal and failed to win even a single postseason game.
Swept in the first round and looking to ensure that wouldn’t happen again this season, the Lightning would change certain aspects of their strategy heading into the 2019-20 season. Things may have started slow for the Lightning but as mentioned, they’ve turned the ship around and are once again in prime position to make a run.
In Coleman, the Lightning are acquiring a 28-year-old forward who can play all three forward positions who has already scored 21 goals in 57 games this season.
For Coleman, this is the second consecutive season that’s seen the Texas-native score at least 20 goals as he’s proven to be a physical player with clutch tendencies. He’s been one of the lone bright spots for an otherwise disappointing Devils’ team.
Coleman isn’t just a rental for the Lightning either as he carries a $1.8 million cap hit for the 2020-21 season as well.
Given how good Coleman is and the fact that he still has one year remaining on his deal at a very team-friendly cap hit, it’s no surprise that the Devils weren’t just giving him away prior to the trade deadline.
Devils Acquiring Valuable Assets
What is surprising, however, is the fact that the Devils were able to secure a very good prospect in Foote, the 27th pick from the 2019 NHL Entry Draft and son of Colorado Avalanche legend Adam Foote.
Foote has scored 15 goals and 33 points in 26 games with the Kelowna Rockets this season. He scored 36 goals and 63 points in 66 games in his draft season just one year ago.
At 6 foot 4 and 200 pounds, Foote has the tools and the physical makeup of a player primed to be in the NHL one day and the Devils are banking on him being exactly that.
In addition to Foote, the Devils also acquired a first-round pick from the Canucks. Though the Canucks have been much better this season than many expected, getting a first-round pick that will likely fall somewhere in the middle of the first round is a tremendous value as a secondary piece in a trade.
The Devils were looking to accelerate their rebuild by acquiring P.K. Subban and drafting Jack Hughes first overall last season. While the attempt was there, the team has struggled mightily this season and they appear primed to continue a full rebuild rather than a potential short-term retool around their current core.