February 1, 2019 | 9:46pm ET
COULD THE BOLTS MOVE CALLAHAN?
Ryan Callahan, right wing
With the trade deadline 24 days away, the Tampa Bay Lightning have been reportedly exploring multiple options in an attempt to further strengthen their already-impressive roster.
Tampa currently sits No.1 in the entire NHL with a 37-11-2 record, to date, and lead the League in goals-for per game and powerplay percentage.
While it’s hard to imagine what else the Lightning could need, VP and GM Julien Brisebois is believed to be scouring the market for added fire power at both ends of the rink.
Up front, the Bolts have been linked to having interest in forwards Michael Ferland of the Carolina Hurricanes, Ryan Dzingel of the Ottawa Senators and Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers, each of whom can become unrestricted free agents July 1.
On the backend, Tampa has expressed interest in Los Angeles Kings defenceman Alec Martinez, who has two more years left on his contract, and Senators blueliner Cody Ceci, who can become a restricted free agent this summer.
With some maneuverability available against the salary cap, Brisebois can add an extra body before the Feb. 25 deadline, but any major acquisition may result in a roster player being sent the other way.
The Lightning could revisit an option they explored last off-season when they tried acquiring star defenceman Erik Karlsson from Ottawa – for those living under a rock, Karlsson was eventually dealt to the San Jose Sharks.
Last off-season, the Lightning has discussed trading veteran forward Ryan Callahan to the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils, multiple sources informed TFP at the time. Both the Rangers and Devils were interested in taking on Callahan’s $5.8 million salary cap hit if the Lightning provided an incentive to do so. It’s believed both the Rangers and Devils would be willing to re-examine that possibility once again.
Freeing up $5.8 million of cap space would give the Bolts more than enough room to add a significant piece to their roster this season. At the same time, if they were to acquire a player on an expiring contract, it would help the club’s cap situation next season, as they already have more than $73 million in contracts tied to the cap and pending RFA forward Brayden Point is due for a handsome contract.
A deal is not believed to be imminent with any club, but Brisebois will continue to weigh out his options in the weeks ahead.
Callahan, who has a 16-team trade list, has recorded five goals and seven assists for 12 points in 40 games with the Lightning so far this season.
TFP Editor-in-Chief David Pagnotta contributed to this report.