Julien BriseBois wanted to explain his plan to Ryan McDonagh in person, explaining exactly why he was asking the veteran defender to waive his no-trade clause.
After one of the toughest conversations of his tenure as general manager, BriseBois made perhaps his toughest move yet during the Tampa Bay Lightning’s winning streak by trading a prominent member of two championship teams to the Stanley Cup with the aim of winning it again in the next one. years.
The Lightning sent McDonagh to the Nashville Predators on Sunday for young defenseman Philippe Myers and forward Grant Mismash, freeing up significant salary cap space to make more moves this offseason and setting up Tampa Bay to keep young basemen long. term.
After previously slated his team’s Cup window would last only next season, BriseBois moving McDonagh has changed the game for the NHL’s most successful franchise in the past five years.
“It allows us to make sure that we can make sure we extend it beyond one season,” BriseBois said. “We’ve freed up cap space for this year, 2022-23, but more importantly, we’ve freed up cap space for 2023-24 and beyond, which I hope will will secure the rights to Anthony Cirelli, Mikhail Sergechev and Erik Cernak for years to come.
The immediate aftermath of swapping McDonagh’s $6.75 million cap for Myers’ $2.55 million could allow the Eastern Conference champions to bring back the top left winger and playoff star playoffs Ondrej Palat and/or reliable defender Jan Rutta, each of whom must become a free agent. when the market opens on July 13.
BriseBois did not have an update on either situation, but acknowledged that moving McDonagh opens the door to more possibilities. He plans to speak with Palat and Rutta agents in the coming days.
That should be better talk than talking to McDonagh about why he needed to prioritize other players going forward and hoped to find a business partner for the 33-year-old, who finished the playoffs and helped Tampa Bay to a third straight final by playing with a mutilated finger. Above all else, McDonagh was known for sacrificing his body to block shots while locking down his opponents’ top stars.
“He’s one of the best defensemen in the NHL — he’s a selfless player and a great leader,” BriseBois said. “Ryan McDonagh is a great human being and a great hockey player. He’s had a lot of wins and he’s helped us win a lot.”
BriseBois said if the salary cap were to increase further, he would never have considered asking McDonagh to waive his no-trade clause and would have been happy to have him contracted for four more seasons.
The Predators now get those years and another seasoned blue-line player who made the playoffs in each of his 12 NHL seasons. In a statement released by the team, general manager David Poile called McDonagh “the ultimate team player who will bring experience and leadership” and someone who can play in any situation.
“It’s been an incredible five years,” McDonagh said of his time at Tampa Bay.
Myers has now been traded for a back-to-back offseason after moving from Philadelphia to Nashville last summer as part of the deal that sent defenseman Ryan Ellis to the Flyers. The 25-year-old becomes Tampa Bay’s latest rehabilitation project after struggling so much last season that the Predators put him on waiver and loaned him to minor league top Toronto.
BriseBois said the plan was to work with Myers rather than explore buying out the final year of his contract.
“For some reason things didn’t work out for him in Philadelphia and Nashville last season,” he said. “We think there are enough tools that intrigue us enough to work with him and help him reach the potential that we saw not too long ago.”
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