The back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions Tampa Bay Lightning were busy this weekend acquiring Brandon Hagel a fourth-round pick in 2022, and a fourth-round pick in 2024 from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Boris Katchouk, Taylor Raddysh, and two top-10 protected first-round picks in 2023 and 2024. In addition to this, the team also acquired Nick Paul from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Mathieu Joseph and a fourth-round pick in the 2024 NHL draft.
Brandon Hagel was having a breakout season with the Chicago Blackhawks this year, as he scored twenty-one goals with sixteen assists for thirty-seven points, thirteen points better than his production last year (nine goals with fifteen assists for twenty-four points) in just three more games. Hagel’s thirty-seven points this season is fourth on the Blackhawks team behind Patrick Kane (71), Alex DeBrincat (56), and Seth Jones (41). At only twenty-three years old, Hagel is under contract for two seasons after this one at $1.5 million AAV. At the midseason point, Brandon Hagel registered a -1.77 individual AB score, the best of any forward on the Blackhawks who had played 35+ games at the time. On a Chicago team that failed to qualify for the playoffs last season (-63.61 overall team AB score), Brandon Hagel actually was a positive AB player with a +0.12 score. This was the seventh-best score on the Blackhawks last season behind Alex DeBrincat (+3.11), Vinnie Hinostroza (+3.02), Brett Connolly (+2.75), Riley Stillman (+1.83), Kirby Dach (+1.79), and Connor Murphy (+1.11). Brandon Hagel played 10:40 in his Lightning debut and earned high praise from Jon Cooper for his performance. Cooper even stated that Hagel will likely work his way onto the Lightning penalty kill at some point before the playoffs, signaling how valuable a player Hagel has a chance to become on one of the Eastern Conference’s biggest contenders.
Nick Paul is a very interesting pick-up for the Tampa Bay Lightning as well. In fifty-nine games played with the Ottawa Senators this season, Paul has scored eleven goals (career-high) with seven assists for eighteen total points. He has registered twenty points in consecutive seasons (19-20 and 20-21) and is coming off back-to-back positive individual AB seasons (+1.12 and +3.45 respectively). This +3.45 individual score for Paul was actually the second-highest score registered by a Senators player in 2020-21 behind only Alex Formenton’s +4.18. However, his individual AB at the midseason point was -7.51, the second-worst score recorded by a Senators player at the time, ahead of only Austin Watson’s (-8.15). At only twenty-seven years old, Paul makes roughly 750k until the conclusion of this season.
With these moves, the Lightning are probably finished with significant trades this deadline season, however, they appear ready to compete for a third-straight championship as we predicted they would do in the preseason. This feat has never been accomplished in the salary cap era and we are honored to be covering it. Much more to come.