The Tampa Bay Lightning traded for second-year Nashville Predators forward Tanner Jeannot on Sunday in a move that arms one team seeking a fourth straight Stanley Cup Finals appearance while the other continues its transition into a new reality.
A Jeannot trade was thought to be a possibility, but that speculation intensified Sunday when the Predators announced they held him out of a game against the Arizona Coyotes for trade-related reasons.
A few hours later, the Predators sent Jeannot, 25, to the Lightning in exchange for defenseman Cal Foote, their third-, fourth- and fifth-round picks in 2023, a second-round pick in 2024 and a protected 2025 first-round pick.
Acquiring Jeannot achieves a few items for the Lightning. It gives them another two-way, top-nine forward who can contribute in several areas. Though he had just five goals and 14 points on a team struggling to score and fading from the playoff race this season, he was a breakthrough star last season.
In helping Nashville seal a playoff berth in the Western Conference, Jeannot finished with 24 goals and 41 points, playing on several lines for coach John Hynes last season. He also scored two power-play goals, utilizing his 6-foot-2, 208-pound frame in front of the net as the Predators landed in the first round for the eighth straight season.
Jeannot could be used on the second-team power-play unit for Tampa Bay, but he could likely make more of an immediate impact on the penalty-kill units. Prior to the trade, he was second among Predators forwards -- and fourth overall -- in short-handed ice time this season.
Perhaps his most significant contribution before he even plays a game could be his contract situation. The forward is in the final season of a two-year contract carrying a team-friendly $800,000 cap hit. He will be a pending restricted free agent this offseason. The Lightning can either pay his $750,000 qualifying offer and keep him for one more season or they can take the offseason to negotiate a long-term deal.
As for the Predators, the trade is the latest sign of change. It started Saturday when they traded forward Nino Niederreiter to the Winnipeg Jets. On Sunday, general manager David Poile, the only GM in franchise history, announced he was stepping down at the end of the season, and former longtime coach Barry Trotz would be returning as his replacement.
Hours later, the Predators traded for Jeannot to accumulate the sort of haul that gives them a starting point for life in the post-Poile era. Foote, 24, who is the son of former NHL defenseman Adam Foote, was a first-round pick in 2017 by the Lightning. He has 15 points in 117 games and will also be a pending restricted free agent at the end of the season.
In terms of draft picks, the Predators will now have a number of options over the next three seasons they can use to either select prospects or utilize as capital in future trades. They will have 11 draft picks in 2023, nine in 2024 and eight in 2025.
Another piece to Jeannot's game that Tampa Bay may see sooner than later is his potential to land in the penalty box. He finished last season with 130 minutes in penalties, and has 85 this season.