Facing lingering injuries on their blue line to go along with a two-game losing skid, the Tampa Bay Lightning turned to free agency rather than the trade market to make a move. Enter former Buffalo Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian.
With Erik Cernak suffering an injury during Saturday’s 7-3 loss in Arizona, the Lightning inked Bogosian to a one-year, $1.3 million contract less than 24 hours before Monday’s trade deadline. TSN’s Darren Dreger reported the deal earlier this evening, adding that Tampa Bay made a strong push to sign Bogosian, eventually leading to a contract.
Tampa Bay came on strong today…edging the likes of Pittsburgh, Carolina and Colorado who were also among the suitors. https://t.co/RdMpq3kzyQ
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 24, 2020
The Sabres suspended Bogosian on February 17 for failing to report to their AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans, after he cleared waivers. Four days later, Buffalo placed him on unconditional waivers with the purpose of terminating his contract. Set to be an unrestricted free agent after this season, Bogosian’s contract is prorated for the remainder of this season.
Whoops, $1.3M, not $700K.
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) February 24, 2020
What Bogosian brings to the Lightning
Taken third overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, two spots behind Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, the 29-year-old Bogosian has suited up for 636 regular season games with the the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets and Sabres. At this point of the season, he’ll serve as depth due to the injuries to Cernak, Ryan McDonagh, and Jan Rutta.
Bogosian provides another right-handed shot for the team’s blue, but he’s not much of an upgrade, if any, over Braydon Coburn and Luke Schenn. In only 19 games this season, Bogosian has put up just five points. Last season, he tallied 19 points in 65 games. Bogosian hasn’t had much of an impact offensively or defensively on some pretty bad Sabres teams in recent years.
On the bright side, this move costs no assets
With defenseman like Alec Martinez, Brenden Dillon, Dylan DeMelo, Marco Scandella, and Andy Greene fetching back considerable assets on the trade market, the Bolts decided to hold onto draft capital after sending a first round pick and Nolan Foote to New Jersey for Blake Coleman last week. As a result, Tampa Bay decided to make a move that simply cost them cash instead of assets.
The Lightning could have recalled Cal Foote from the Syracuse Crunch, but the Crunch are also in a playoff push and have dealt with injuries on their blue line as well. In addition, Foote probably wouldn’t be playing a lot of meaningful minutes with Tampa Bay right now.
Earlier today, the team received encouraging news in regards to Cernak’s injury.
For the time being, Erik Cernak is being officially listed as day-to-day by #TBLightning
— Lightning Insider (@Erik_Erlendsson) February 24, 2020
At the end of the day, Bogosian is insurance for the Lightning’s injury issues on the blue line. The former Sabre won’t be asked to play top-four minutes. On top of that, he joins a team looking to make a Stanley Cup run. At the end of the day, a change of scenery could potentially give him a boost, especially since he’s never been on a playoff team before.
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