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Lightning GM Brian Lawton says recent payroll cutting could help gain a top-six forward

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July

Good little stretch here for the Lightning when it comes to cost cutting. The team saved $1.23 million for next season in the trade of Radim Vrbata. It saves $2.33 million next season on the buyout of Vinny Prospal's contract. And nobody will be surprised if defenseman Lukas Krajicek and his $1.475 million contract is moved as well.

What does the Lightning hope to gain from the movement. Is it straight-up cost containment. GM Brian Lawton said no. He said it still his intention to find a top-six forward to perhaps play alongside Vinny Lecavalier.

“I’d like to add another top-six forward, one that adds a little different chemistry, a little more speed," Lawton said. "We want to play a more up-tempo game. And we really want guys that care.”

What free agents are out there? As we have said, if they are willing to take a one-year contract for a reduced rate and the chance to playwith Lecavalier and resurrect careers that took a step back last season, scoring wings Alex Tanguay and Petr Sykora would top the list. But Lawton said he could also trade for a wing, which would be a good way to keep control of the payroll -- currently at $46.72 million -- because of the salaries that would go out.

“The question is whether we can get anything done,” Lawton said. “It’s a tough equation. There haven’t been a lot of moves by teams. The faucet was shut off by about July 4, and that is because the league is oversold. But there are some good players out there.”

We'll have more on this in Wednesday's paper, but let's end with this from Lawton on Prospal:

“It’s a very difficult situation,” he said of “paying someone to go away. … We like Vinny Prospal. He’s a good guy. It’s just in a salary cap world you get pushed into making tough decisions. This was one of them.”

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

    

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