The Tampa Bay Lightning trade deadline will be interesting to watch this season. Over the last several seasons, they’ve been active with deals. It started with Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow. More recently, it has been Tanner Jeannot and Michael Eyssimont. This season, there is a question of what the Lightning should do; buy or sell? Here at Last Word, Kyle Pereira and Jack Pallotta will start a series where they look at some potential trades. Let’s say they buy, who do they get? What do they give up? Today, we look at Anthony Beauvillier of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Beauvillier is such an intriguing name. Playing for the Blackhawks, it’s almost certain he will be a name that gets tossed around as we approach the deadline, for multiple teams. Beauvillier started his NHL career in 2016-17 with the New York Islanders, after being selected 28th overall in the 2015 NHL entry draft. He impressed as a rookie with 24 points (nine goals and 15 assists) in 66 games. Overall, he would play parts of seven seasons with the Islanders, scoring 102 goals and 107 assists for 209 points in 457 games. He especially established himself in two separate playoff runs.
In 2019-20, Beauvillier scored 14 points in 22 playoff contests, helping lead the Islanders to an Eastern Conference Finals appearance. The following season, once again the Islanders went far, falling short to the Lightning yet again in the Conference Finals. Beauvillier scored 13 points in 19 games the second time around. However, he would get traded to the Vancouver Canucks in the Bo Horvat trade last year, then was dealt again this season to the Blackhawks. With those two teams, he has combined for 34 points in 70 games. That includes 14 points in 37 games this season.
Beauvillier Scouting Report
The Lightning should be familiar with Beauvillier from his time on Long Island. Back-to-back Conference Finals meetings, where Beauvillier was one of their top players, should be enough for Julien BriseBois to at least peek his way. Outside of the playoffs aspect, however, he hasn’t been a big-time producer in the regular season. His career-best season came in 2022-23, with 40 points in 82 games. His best point-per-game rate across a season came in 2020-21, where he scored 28 points in 47 games (0.60 points per game). Why is that?
Well, Beauvillier isn’t a flashy goal-scorer or playmaker. His game is largely straight-forward. He noticeably is one of the first forwards into the offensive zone to forecheck, and understands his skill in that area by being a chip-and-chase transitional type. That chip-and-chase style fits like a glove in Tampa. Also, his hard forechecking fits snugly into what the Lightning have built over the years. Once the play is established in the offensive zone, he is found in one of two areas: the half-wall on his shooting side for one timers or right in front of the net. But he hasn’t been a high-volume shooter, sitting ninth on the Blackhawks for shots on goal per 60 minutes, and having only scored four goals this season.
As the Tampa Bay Lightning weigh their options ahead of the trade deadline, Beauvillier’s strongest asset is his work ethic and energy. It’s not as if he is flying around the ice 24/7 like Brandon Hagel or Eyssimont, necessarily. Instead, he gets in first, understands angles and tries to cut off the break-out. If that doesn’t work, he doggedly backchecks, being a thorn in the side of a puck carrier. Effective forechecking and dogged determination are traits of many prior Lightning acquisitions. In that sense, Beauvillier is a clean fit.
As for his other strengths and positive traits, he has 6.3 expected goals, which means he is scoring at least two goals less than what he should be scoring at. Meaning, his ability to get to those high-danger and dirty areas generates opportunities, but he isn’t finishing. Sure, playing in Chicago doesn’t help anyones case, but that’s good news. There’s a higher ceiling there than shows.
The Concerns For Beauvillier
This season, and historically in his career, he hasn’t been a good defensive zone presence. From watching him play, it’s easy to point out how he mostly floats in the defensive zone. While he isn’t out of position, and understands his task and responsibility, he doesn’t really move much. He will begin moving his feet once the puck is in motion up ice.
Additionally, while he is good at attacking the high-danger areas and getting to the net front, how much upside is there really? He was a 20-goal scorer once, back in 2017-18. He’s notched over 35 points in a season just three times (2017-18, 2019-20, and 2022-23). The Lightning already have players like Nick Paul, Eyssimont, Jeannot, Luke Glendening and Austin Watson who get to the net and post modest to far-less-than-modest production. Aren’t there too many bodies in Tampa who can produce modestly? So, then, why add another who may produce likely middling numbers, especially initially while adjusting?
What It Would (Likely) Take To Anthony Beauvillier
Two things: Beauvillier makes $4,150,000 per season, meaning his cap hit is fairly large. The Lightning would have to have some of that retained. It also means that, even at 50% retained, another body has to go back to Chicago. On the bright-side, it’s a one-year deal, and Chicago shouldn’t fret with retaining salary on that. Additionally, getting another warm body back would make the trade a bit more attractive for the Blackhawks.
Beauvillier is dealing with an injury, which likely means the timeline for any trade will be pushed back until he returns and plays a few games. But for a player who likes to get into the dirty areas, this wrist injury that’s kept him out for some time bring about many concerns. With that in mind, let’s say he is devalued a bit from the injury and repercussions of the injury. The salary is a big hurdle. With the idea that one of their defencemen (Haydn Fleury or Emil Lilleberg) are sent down, this is what that deal could look like:
Tampa acquires Anthony Beauvillier (50% retained)
Chicago receives Conor Sheary, Alex Barre-Boulet, 2025 third round pick
Tampa Bay Lightning Trade Deadline: In Or Out On Beauvillier
The wrist injury and subsequent return are vital to how “in” or “out” anyone can be on Beauvillier. But that aside, his style fits like a glove on Tampa’s forward core. Now, with having to trade two players (or, if they keep Barre-Boulet, sending down a defender and a forward), it means that Mitchell Chaffee or someone with a similar cap number will be on the roster moving forward. With the salary cap rules in the playoffs, they can get some extra depth from the minors. Keep in mind, this also includes keeping Austin Watson on IR, at least until the playoffs. So that extra help could come there too, but that’s a story for a different day.
With all the moving pieces, it feels like a very complicated situation to deal with for a player that may not even be healthy before the deadline. Or at least, healthy enough to have the belief he can make an impact on the roster straight away. Plus, BriseBois has always preferred more term on acquiring contracts, as opposed to rentals. However, it’s easy to be a fan of acquiring a healthy Beauvillier with his playoff successes and potential fit on the team. Time will tell, but it may be too steep of a situation.
Raw stats and per game stats via Hockey-Reference
Shots per 60 via MoneyPuck
Main Photo: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports