The 2015 Lightning-Islanders Trade That Shaped Both Franchises

After reaching the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, then Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman decided to take an active approach to continue building his already strong roster. To do so, he reached back into his bag of tricks, trading the Lightning’s first-round pick to the New York Islanders for the second-straight year.

In exchange for the 28th overall pick, the Islanders sent Tampa Bay the 33rd and 72nd. For New York, this gave them a chance to swoop in and grab one of the high-skill forwards still available. For the Lightning, they got two quality picks in an incredibly deep draft.

What the Lightning Got From the Islanders

With their extra pick in both the second and third round of the 2015 Draft, the Lightning had an additional shot at pulling some game-breaking talent out of a deep class. First, with the 33rd overall pick, Yzerman went a bit off the draft board, selecting forward Mitchell Stephens.

While Stephens may not have been an expected pick at the time, he has developed well for Tampa Bay. He was expected to be a full-time starter for 2020-21 until a major injury kept him out of the line-up for most of the season. While he has been on the bench throughout the 2021 postseason, he will likely factor into the Lightning’s plans for 2021-22.

While Stephens has been a great value-add for the Bolts, pick 72 is where they truly struck gold. With this selection, the Lightning took 2015 Memorial Cup hero Anthony Cirelli.

Author: Lucy Green