The Chicago Blackhawks had already made one blockbuster trade on Tuesday when they acquired goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury from the Vegas Golden Knights, but now they’ve made another one, acquiring center Tyler Johnson and a trade pick from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for defenseman Brent Seabrook.
ESPN’s Emily Kaplan, who also broke the news of Seth Jones’ trade to the Blackhawks and the Andre-Fleury swap on Tuesday, broke the story Tuesday evening:
The Blackhawks have not confirmed the trade, but like they had done with their previous two moves, the team teased fans before news of the swap came out:
Needless to say, the deal is a complicated one. Johnson has three years remaining on his contract, which is paying him $5 million per season. In 55 games for the Lightning last season, he had eight goals and 14 assists, and has scored 161 career NHL goals in 589 games.
The Lightning, who ended up losing Nikita Kucherov for the entire regular season last year, were able to overspend the league’s salary cap as a result, but with Kucherov back in the fold, the team has had to make some creative moves to ensure that they would be under the cap, and it would seem that moving Johnson will help them to do that.
The Blackhawks also received a 2023 second-round pick in the swap.
The Lightning will receive Seabrook in the deal. He is still under contract for three more seasons, with a salary cap hit of $6.875 million per season, but he has stepped away from the game of hockey due to chronic hip issues and other injuries.
That means the Lightning will be able to place Seabrook on long-term injured reserve, allowing them to once again overspend the salary cap next season.
As for the Blackhawks, the move means that they will have a little bit more wiggle room with the salary cap during the offseason, and also gives them a player to slot into their lineup when the season begins.