Senators acquire Braydon Coburn, Cedric Paquette as Lightning become cap compliant

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 6: Braydon Coburn #55 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at Amalie Arena on February 6, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Audette /NHLI via Getty Images)
The Tampa Bay Lightning will become cap compliant after sending Braydon Coburn and Anders Nilsson to the Ottawa Senators. (Scott Audette /NHLI via Getty Images)

The Ottawa Senators acquired Braydon Coburn, Cedric Paquette and a 2022 second-round pick from the Tampa Bay Lightning, in exchange for Marian Gaborik and Anders Nilsson.

Tampa Bay was desperate to become cap compliant ahead of the upcoming season and this trade should facilitate this goal, after a series of clever moves from general manager Julien BriseBois and his staff.

Although the Lightning added $4.125M in salary through this trade, they will place Gaborik and Nilsson on long-term injured reserve (LTIR), clearing the daunting cap hurdle in the process.

Here is the projected breakdown via PuckPedia:

Tampa Bay announced on Dec. 23 that it would be placing Nikita Kucherov and his corresponding $9.5 million salary on LTIR, allowing the team to clear a major cap hurdle. Kucherov will undergo hip surgery that will keep him out of the regular season, but the former Hart Trophy winner will be eligible to return for the playoffs.

It’s an opportunistic move for the Senators to pick up some real NHL assets, while the Lightning scurry to get under the cap in time. Coburn is a legitimate NHL veteran defenceman, and though his best days are well behind him, he can be pencilled in as a capable bottom-pair option for a Senators team that is still in the middle of its rebuild.

Paquette has provided minimal offensive impact for the Lightning, but he was trusted enough by the defending champions to suit up for all 25 playoff games, adding three assists. He recorded seven goals and 18 points in 61 games during the regular season, and can be slotted in as a bottom-six option for the Senators.

The best asset for the Senators is the future second-round pick, which will help the team continue to stockpile top prospects.

It’s a win-win move for both clubs as the Senators further accelerate their rebuild, while the Lightning will be allowed to defend their Cup title in earnest, as the league warned they wouldn’t be allowed to play if they remained over the cap by Jan. 13.

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