Alex Tanguay and Petr Sykora probably still on the Lightning's list

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July

And as long as they remain unsigned, it probably will stay that way.

It will be interesting to see who, if either, blinks first -- Alex Tanguay or Petr Sykora. Which player finally decides he needs a place to play and caves to the Lightning's hope that one of these scoring wings will take a one-year deal for a reduced rate and uses the platform to re-launch his career?

We have discussed this exercise before. But with GM Brian Lawton back from a brief vacation, he likely will re-visit his attempt to gain a scoring wing to perhaps play on Vinny Lecavalier's line. This is easier said than done for a team that already has a payroll pushing $50 million and which still has to sign Matt Smaby (either through negotiation or arbitration), Matt Lashoff, Martins Karsums and Mike Lundin.

So, Tampa Bay will wait to see if Alex Tanguay or Petr Sykora, the top two scoring forwards still available through free agency, will bite. Talk about a selling point. It's not the worst thing in the world for one's career to play with Lecavalier, especially when you are trying to revive your career, which both Tanguay and Sykora have to do. Much of the talk the past few weeks is about how much Tanguay would help the Lightning. But I say Sykora, who has 53 goals, including 28 on the power play the past two seasons for the Penguins, offers more. And he has more to prove after his playoff flop, though he also had a second-degree shoulder separation. Sykora's agent Allan Walsh also debunked an Internet report his clientwas bound for the KHL and said on Tuesday Sykora's priority is to play in the NHL.

On the other hand, Tanguay, at 29, is three years younger than Sykora, which might be attractive to a Lightning team trying to stay away from older players. On the other hand, the most persistent rumor is Tanguay will go to the Panthers. On one more hand, Sykora's salary last season was $2.5 million, much less than Tanguay's $5.375 million. Price is important for Tampa Bay, which still wants to shed some payroll as it is.

As it is, nothing seems imminent. In fact, the longer things drag out, the better the Lightning's position will be. Look, perhaps nothing happens. Perhaps the players find a market greater than what Tampa Bay can offer. Perhaps the financially troubled Lightning decides it can't make an offer, after all. But for now, it's fun to think about either of those players lining up next to Lecavalier.

[Last modified: Sunday, August 16, 2009 4:39pm]

    

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