The Tampa Bay Lightning pulled a very Tampa Bay Lightning move on Friday, acquiring third-liner Brandon Hagel and two fourth-rounders for two first-rounders (2023 and 2024) plus forwards Boris Katchouk and Taylor Raddysh.
It's the sort of deal that can be expected from Tampa, who are also about the only team that can feel OK moving two firsts for upside depth. They lost their entire third line from the back-to-back championship rosters last summer and Hagel is a way to scratch some of that back.
And it's a win for Chicago, too, as GM Kyle Davidson makes a bold move into the future. This was a "can't say no" deal, but still, giving up on a 23-year-old player like Hagel is a sort of statement for a rebuilding team that could have side effects.
"If Hags is the guy to get traded, if he’s not a guy that’s a part of a rebuild, then I don’t know," Jonathan Toews told The Athletic's Mark Lazerus. "I don’t know if anyone feels safe at this point, with the way he’s been playing and what he’s meant to our team. I had a hard time thinking in my mind that he would be one of the guys to get shipped off, considering what he brought in. Yeah, that was a tough one to see. I’m pretty shocked, for sure."
But, for no, this is a deal that makes sense for both teams, given where they are in the contender-pretender scale. Here's a look at what both sides got from the players involved in the deal.
TO TAMPA BAY: BRANDON HAGEL
The Lightning have done this before with Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow: add a grindy depth forward for a first-rounder (plus) who has some cheap term on his contract. And though Hagel isn't the exact same as either of those two, he's the perfect Lightning player for this time of year.
Tampa Bay has learned that building out support for its core can lead to championships and that the right third-liner is worth more than a first-rounder to this team. They've done well to find value in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft anyway.
Hagel draws comparisons here to Coleman because both arrived in Tampa through trade with manageable cap hits ($1.8 million for Coleman, $1.5 million for Hagel) and weren't just rentals. They had scoring upside, too and were 20-goal scorers at the time of their trades. But Coleman was a) older and b) had a more proven track record as a scorer. Coleman had two 20-goal seasons and three pro years under his belt -- Hagel scored nine times as a rookie last season.
How sustainable is Hagel's production? He led the Hawks with 15 goals at 5-on-5 at the time of the trade, but did it with an unusually high 22.39 shooting percentage. He was fifth in assists at 5-on-5 as well and, it should be pointed out, he had the second-highest on-ice shooting percentage on the team. Hagel had some luck mixed into his results this season, though of course, he's moving on into a much better situation now.
Production is one thing, style is another. Hagel is no doubt a great fit as a tenacious forchecker, which is exactly what the Lightning were after here. He's only 23 and will have another two years to get even better in a winning culture now.
Scout's Analysis from Jason Bukala:
Hagel is a tenacious player with high end compete. He goes to the hard areas, plays quick, creates offence and can be used in a variety of roles.
Punches well above his weight. This player wants the puck when he doesn’t have it and will go through a wall to win one-on-one battles. The best is likely still to come. At worst he’s a 20-plus goal scorer who plays on Tampa's third line and second PP unit. The Lightning paid a lot to get this player but when you are in “win it again” mode it makes sense.
TO CHICAGO: TAYLOR RADDYSH, BORIS KATCHOUK
Prospect analysis from Sam Cosentino:
Taylor Raddysh is a big body who is skilled enough to play anywhere in the lineup. He was over-ripened by Tampa to the point that even this year he spent much of his time on the fourth line.
He can really shoot the puck, and given more opportunity, he should be able to blossom into a 15-goal scorer. Since chemistry has been a topic, especially in the two additions Calgary made, Raddysh spent time in junior on a line with Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat. While it’s not a necessity they play together, that will be another option for Derek King down the road.
Boris Katchouk is a busy body player who can really skate. He has some physicality to his game and he is adept at playing the pest role. He is an effective penalty killer thanks to his speed and surprising reach. He’s a perfect fit for a bottom-six, energy-line type of role and opponents won't like him.
He possesses good hands, but his finishing ability at the NHL level is not the same as what he experienced in junior. He was still finding his way in maintaining a regular spot in Tampa’s lineup, but in Chicago he should be able to establish himself as an agitator with some offensive upside and a shift disturber.
As far as the two first-round picks, I would be ecstatic with Davidson kicking them down the road to a deeper 2023 draft and having that same asset in 2024 where it is more of an unknown.