GM Steve Yzerman open to Roloson/Smith in net; Stamkos says no reason deal won't get done
Tampa Bay Lightning players cleaned out their lockers on Monday. The most interesting things to come out of the day was general manager Steve Yzerman saying he is open to bringing back goalies Dwayne Roloson and Mike Smith, and center Steven Stamkos, a potential restricted free agent, saying he sees no reason a deal will not be done.
"This has been my home for three years; I can't believe it's been three years already," Stamkos said. "We've been able to grow with the core bunch of guys and you saw what happened this year. We're so close. We're only going to get better as a team and I'd love to be part of that."
Asked if he saw any reason a deal would not get done, he said, "No, no. I don't know what else to say."
Said Yzerman: "He's one of the great young players in the game and a tremendous player for our organization. ... It will get done at some point."
As for the goaltending situation that seemed so up in the air for a while, Yzerman said he is open to bringing back Roloson and Smith. Roloson is no surprise, but it was not so long ago it appeared Smith, who cleared waivers and was sent to AHL Norfolk, might be on his way out. But two things happened, Smith was terrific since Dec. 15, going 6-2-1 in 10 games with a 1.53 goals-against average and .947 save percentage. The other was Cedrick Desjardins, who played for Norfolk last season and who the team originally wanted as backup, has dealt with a right-shoulder injury since January (believed to be a torn labrum) and recently underwent surgery that will keep him sidelined until October.
That left the door open for Smith and he walked through.
"He handled it as well as anybody could handle a situation like that," Yzerman said. "It speaks to his maturity and character that he went through a difficult time and handled it very well, and he made the best of the situation. I believe he's a better goalie after going through it."
As for a starting goalie, Tampa Bay was never going to sign one of the big-ticket free agents, so forget it if you're hoping Florida's Tomas Vokoun or Phoenix's Ilya Bryzgalove is coming this way. Roloson, who will be 42 next season, is a good fit for another year.
"Yeah, he played extremely well," Yzerman said. "I'll get a chance to sit down and talk to him, but he played very well. He was a huge factor on our team and we'll sit down and let him know right away."
"I'd love to come back," Roloson said. "Since I've been down here it's been great. The organization from top to bottom, the ownership, the coaching staff, the players, it's great. So, if there's an opportunity to come back, I'd love to."
Other stuff from locker clean-out day: Left wing Simon Gagne also wants to come back. The sticking point with him, though, could be money. ... Defenseman Pavel Kubina said he was scared for his career because his concussion symptoms were not improving, but that changed the past five or six days. Kubina says he has begun light workouts and will stay in the Tampa Bay area an extra two or three weeks before returning to his native Czech Republic. ... Captain Vinny Lecavalier said given how he played in the second half of this season and the playoffs, he can't wait for next season as his confidence is soaring. ... Smith and wife Brigitte are expecting their first child, a boy, on July 15. No names yet but Smith promised it will be "something spicy." ... Good quote from coach Guy Boucher: "I heard someone tell e yesterday in the street, and I kind of liked it, 'Hey, don't be disappointed. The team is back on track and we're on the map now.' I like the fact that we're on the map now, and that's what it is. The positives are we have created a culture and now have to build on that culture." ... And one final quote from Roloson, who looked about 10 years younger after shaving his playoff beard. "It's pretty bad when your kids are telling you you should probably get some Grecian Formula and get rid of the gray. For me, I wish I had it on another two weeks."