The Tampa Bay Lightning should learn from this past championship team's mistake

The Tampa Bay Lightning are trying to keep their contending window open. History could show them a lesson about one mistake not to replicate.
2022 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six
2022 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The Tampa Bay Lightning are doing everything they can to extend their championship window, but there is one lesson they can learn from this past Stanley Cup contender.

The Tampa Bay Lightning can learn a valuable lesson from this past dynasty.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are up against the salary cap year in and year out. After winning back to back Stanley Cups in 2020 and 2021, the Lightning are trying to prove they still are one of the top teams around.

Over the years, the Lightning have had to say goodbye to some key players from their championship years. Many fell victim to the salary cap being the main restraint from keeping them with the organization, like Ryan McDonagh who was traded to the Nashville Predators in July 2022.

In 2023 and 2024 the Lightning had back to back first round exits at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers. To try and correct course, the Lightning made a trade on May 21.

McDonagh Trade

The Lightning traded to re-aquire McDonagh. During McDonagh's last season in Tampa Bay the Lightning made it to the Stanley Cup Final only to fall to the Colorado Avalanche. In bringing back McDonagh the team hopes to reunite a former fan favorite with a blue line that can definitely use the help.

The Chicago Blackhawks know a thing or two about losing star players due to the salary cap. Guys like Andrew Shaw, Brandon Saad, Andrew Ladd and Patrick Sharp all left the team only to be brought back at one point or another.

Ladd helped bring the Stanley Cup to Chicago in 2010, and in 2016 the team re-aquired him in a trade to play alongside Jonathan Toews, but Chicago ended up losing in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs that season.

Additionally, the Blackhawks won two Stanley Cups with Johnny Oduya on the blue line in 2013 and 2015. After the Hawks lost him to free agency in the summer of 2015, it only took them two seasons to trade to require him in February 2017 giving up a fourth round pick and Mark McNeill, one of the team's top prospects at the time.

The Lightning are trying to do everything they can to win now. But going down the path of bringin back former star players might not be the road to success.