NHL trade deadline: Lightning land Jeannot from Predators in deal that leaves rival GMs 'stunned'

The Lightning are sending Cal Foote and five draft picks to Nashville in the trade.

Whether it was outgoing GM David Poile or former coach and incoming GM Barry Trotz who made the trade, the Nashville Predators landed a bewildering haul from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday in exchange for forward Tanner Jeannot. While this trade broadly fits the Lightning’s deadline blueprint stemming back from creatively nabbing Barclay Goodrow and Blake Coleman in 2020, it’s a move that really stretches the boundaries of credibility for this being proper value.

Then again, is it ever truly wise to question a Bolts front office that’s almost always ahead of the pack? Either way, feast your eyes on this whopper of a trade.

Lightning receive: Tanner Jeannot

Predators receive: Cal Foote, a 2025 first-round pick (top-10 protected), a second-rounder in 2024, plus third-, fourth-, and fifth-rounders in 2023.

It’s OK if you need a moment to let that sink in. Apparently, plenty of NHL GMs need some time to lift their jaws off the floor, too.

Lightning gamble on Jeannot being the next Coleman, Paul, Hagel

What was once an outside-the-box strategy with the Goodrow/Coleman additions now feels like an annual trade deadline tradition for Tampa Bay.

Last season, the Lightning coughed up two conditional first-round picks for Brandon Hagel, a nice player on a cheap contract for multiple seasons. They also acquired Nick Paul, who they eventually re-signed to a seven-year deal at about $22M (or $3.15M per year). Both have been valuable contributors for the Lightning, especially Hagel.

The formula is simple: pay what seems like a steep sticker price in picks and prospects for depth they usually can’t afford, then reap the benefits of bargain players. Even if you ignore the Lightning’s two Stanley Cups and a third run to a championship round, those bets have paid off quite nicely on their own.

However, Jeannot ranks as one of the boldest bets yet. There are some red flags about the undrafted 25-year-old’s game.

Then again, there are plenty of talking points in Jeannot’s favor (and not just “the Lightning are smarter than everyone else, trust them”). The rugged forward scored 24 goals and 41 points to go with 130 penalty minutes last season. His production slowed in 2022-23 (five goals, 14 points in 56 games) but the Lightning are likely banking on him mixing that sandpaper with some scoring zip. That nastiness could really throw some meat to the team’s more bloodthirsty fans:

Predators go from zero to reboot in a weekend

In situations like these, it’s wise to credit an entire front office, not just the GM. So the “Did Poile or Trotz make this move?” question is (probably, mostly?) a joke.

Whatever the case may be, a Predators franchise seemingly stuck in denial now has a bunch of fuel to do a full rebuild or merely a shorter reboot. After this weekend, the Predators boast a cabinet full of futures. It’s probably easiest to look at their year-by-year holdings.

2023: All of their own picks except a seventh-rounder, two extra third-rounders, two extra fourth-rounders, and an extra fifth-rounder.

2024: All of their own picks, plus two extra second-rounders.

2025: All of their own picks, plus that conditional first-rounder from the Lightning.

The Predators got quite the haul for Tanner Jeannot ahead of the NHL trade deadline in a deal with the Lightning. (Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports)
The Predators got quite the haul for Tanner Jeannot ahead of the NHL trade deadline in a deal with the Lightning. (Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports)

Cal Foote ranks as an interesting consideration, too. With 117 NHL games under his belt, it might be a stretch to call him a prospect, but he’s still just 24 years old. He carried pedigree into the NHL as the 14th pick of the 2017 NHL Draft.

Judging by his player card from Evolving Hockey, the Predators may not want to dream too big.

That said, the Predators appear likely to move Dante Fabbro, another 24-year-old who was a first-round pick (in 2016). Though different defensemen, it’s plausible to picture Foote replacing some or all of what Fabbro brings to the table.

As a parting note: the Lightning sure love trading Adam Foote’s children, as Cal follows his brother Nolan out of Tampa Bay’s system. Nolan Foote was part of the Coleman trade, so Tampa Bay wouldn’t mind if history repeats itself.

By the March 3 trade deadline, the Predators could theoretically add even more to their mix of picks/prospects by trading Fabbro while replacing some of that with Foote. Very impressive work.