Almost Done: Lightning closing in on deal to reunite with $21.85 million 6′2″, 209 lb former forward

Almost Done: Lightning closing in on deal to reunite with $21.85 million 6′2″, 209 lb former forward

The New York Rangers cleared cap space on Tuesday by waiving forward Barclay Goodrow.He’s now available for any team looking to add depth to their roster.

It didn’t take long to wonder if the Tampa Bay Lightning were among the teams interested in his services for next season. After all, he was an important depth component in the back-to-back Stanley Cups. Should the Lightning bring back Goodrow after re-signing defenseman Ryan McDonagh?

To answer the first part, the answer is yes. A reunion is very plausible. As for the second part, it depends. But there is a case in favor of the move.

What Goodrow Can Still Bring to the Lightning

For starters, the Lightning could need more scoring depth. Production from the bottom six was critical to their recent championship victory. Goodrow was a part of that production and can still contribute to the discussion. Sure, he had a bad season in New York, scoring only 12 points in 80 games, but the previous two seasons he had averaged at least 30 points and double-digit goals. There is precedent for the 30-year-old to return to his previous level of output.

If the Lightning can match Goodrow’s prior productivity of roughly 30 points, he will outperform current squad members Mikey Eyssimont, Luke Glendening, and Conor Sheary.

If you want to go deeper into his stats, Goodrow demonstrated his ability to deliver in the clutch during this season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. He scored eight points in 16 games, including six goals. Two of those goals were game-winning, including an overtime goal against the Florida Panthers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

So, if anything, the Lightning would be re-acquiring a significant postseason player. They’ve felt his absence in the last few playoff outings and would welcome his return.

On top of that, Goodrow is unafraid to be physical and give up his body for a play. In 2023-24, he blocked 86 shots and recorded 170 hits – both were career highs. This part of his game has developed beyond what it was when he was with the Lightning – and keep in mind, it is why the Lightning originally acquired him. So they would be getting an even better version of that.

What Would it Take to Acquire Goodrow?

While the Lightning would benefit from reuniting with their former forward, the circumstances must be right. Keep in mind that the salary cap remains a problem for the Lightning, albeit less so now that it has been increased.

Goodrow is now on waivers, which means that if the Lightning claim him, they must take on his existing contract. He has three years remaining on his contract, with an average annual value (AAV) of $3,641,667. That might still be too much for the Lightning to handle. They need to re-sign Steven Stamkos, work out a contract extension for Victor Hedman, make room for McDonagh, etc.

However, the Lightning could get Goodrow’s services again at a lower price by playing the waiting game. It’s a risk, but here’s how it would work. Should no team claim him, the Rangers would likely buy out his contract. Once they eat it, he’s free to sign a new deal elsewhere. Get him on a one or two-year deal for, say, half the AAV, about $1.8 million, it’s an easy move for the Lightning to make.

There would need to be another equivalent move, as all of Lightning’s moves must be performed with the cap in mind. For example, they could move Tanner Jeannot and Conor Sheary, or perhaps buy one of them out. These players were picked based on the cap space that would be created with their departure. Jeannot’s cap hit is $2.665 million, while Sheary’s is $2 million.

As long as he is not brought back instead of signing another crucial player, it would be logical for the Lightning to wait for a buyout and sign him.

The Lightning are slowly closing in on an opportunity to get the Cup-winning band back together. The salary cap is only projected to keep increasing, and many departed key players have plenty left in the tank. They got McDonagh, and Goodrow could be the next guy in line to return.


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