The Tampa Bay Lightning were unsuccessful in their quest to win a third consecutive Stanley Cup Finals, and now it’s back to the drawing board as they look to return to hockey’s biggest stage for the fourth year in a row. The Lightning face some difficult roster decisions this offseason, and without a lot of cap space to work with, the team is staring at an unfortunate reality regarding one of their most loyal defenders. According to Elliotte Friedman, the Lightning have begun exploring potential trade fits for star defender Ryan McDonagh.

The decision to move on from McDonagh is surely a difficult one, but the Lightning are forced to face the reality that they simply can’t afford to bring back all of their free agents unless they move on from a key player.