Lightning deal McDonagh to Preds for 2 players

The Tampa Bay Lightning traded veteran defenseman Ryan McDonagh to the Nashville Predators on Sunday to clear space under the NHL salary cap.

The Predators sent defenseman Philippe Myers and forward Grant Mismash to the Lightning for the 33-year-old McDonagh, who waived his no-trade clause to make the deal happen. McDonagh has four more seasons on his contract with a $6.75 million average annual value.

McDonagh played 71 games this season and tallied 26 points. He averaged 17:50 in ice time at 5-on-5 this season, which was his highest rate since 2013-14 with the New York Rangers (17:56). His 1.04 points per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 was his highest rate since 2018-19 (1.46).

McDonagh spent four-plus seasons with the Lightning after being traded to Tampa Bay by the Rangers in February 2018. He was an integral part of their back-to-back Stanley Cup championships, anchoring a second defensive pairing behind star Victor Hedman.

But after losing to the Colorado Avalanche in the Stanley Cup Final, the Lightning engaged in conversations with McDonagh about waiving his trade protection as they were desperate to create salary-cap flexibility — potentially to re-sign longtime winger and playoff hero Ondrej Palat, who is an unrestricted free agent.

Myers, 25, was acquired by the Predators in last summer’s Ryan Ellis trade with the Philadelphia Flyers. He played 27 games with Nashville last season, averaging 14:52 in ice time. According to Cap Friendly, buying out the remaining year of Myers’ deal would give the Lightning a $616,666 cap credit for next season and $633,334 in dead cap space in the 2023-24 season.

Mismash, 23, skated in 57 games in 2021-22 for the Milwaukee Admirals, Nashville’s AHL affiliate, and tallied six goals and 12 points in his rookie season. He is a product of the University of North Dakota.

McDonagh gives the Predators three defensemen with a cap hit over $6 million: Roman Josi ($9.059M), McDonagh ($6.75M) and Mattias Ekholm ($6.25M), all of them signed through 2026. According to Cap Friendly, they have 18 players under contract and just over $18 million in cap space. Forward Filip Forsberg, one of their leading scorers, remains unsigned ahead of unrestricted free agency.

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