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For Lightning, few trade winds at draft

23

June

If you were waiting for the big one Saturday, it didn't happen. Oh, the Lightning pulled off a trade all right, but it was one that earned it three extra draft picks during an afternoon that saw Tampa Bay make nine picks, seven of them forwards to help replenish a minor-league system depleted of swift-skating goal scorers.

But what about the trades for NHL-ready players like a second-line forward to play with Brad Richards or a fifth of sixth defenseman?

GM Jay Feaster said he had lots of talks but in the end the logistics weren't right. He is in no rush, he said, to add by way of subtracting from the big team's roster and he cannot afford to deal many more draft choices as he already is down a second-rounder and a fourth in 2008. But Feaster also said all the talk about trades at the draft was overdone by the media.

So after reminding reporters he already has acquired Chris Gratton and Jan Hlavac (both moves I like), Feaster got a little sarcastic while talking of the timing of the Gratton trade.

"I guess we could have waited and then I would have satisfied you, right?'' he said. "I can satisfy you and say, 'Look what I did at the draft.' We just happened to do it before the draft.''

In Feaster's view, the only advantage to the draft is that all 30 general managers are in the same place at the same time. Other than that, the dynamic doesn't change.

"So I'm not overly hung up on not getting deals done here,'' he said. "You guys get hung up that everything has to get done at the draft. Deals get done after the draft. Deals get done during the summer. Deals get done during training camp. The fact that now the draft is over doesn't mean there aren't ways to improve our club.''

Asked if he is still approached about trading one of the Big 3, Feaster said, "What typically happens is you get that frenzy when somebody says I'm trading them for the first pick or I'm trading them for Joe Blow. That's when the other 29 feel they need to call because they heard it. It isn't so much guys come up and start it as a main conversation, but if they hear that rumor they will ask.''

The weekend's mini frenzy was set off by an Ottawa newspaper item that said Tampa Bay was trying to trade Brad Richards for the No. 1 overall pick of the draft, a report so baseless and wrong as to be ludicrous.

Let's set this record straight again: The only way there is even a remote possibility any of those guys will be traded is if the Lightning can get back at least a top-tier goaltender that will set the organization up for a substantial amount of time.

That was the scenario last year when Tampa Bay and the Canucks talked about swapping Vinny Lecavalier for Roberto Luongo, perhaps the best trade the Lightning never made.

      

[Last modified: Sunday, August 16, 2009 4:37pm]

    

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