Loss of wing Drew Miller on waivers is no big deal unless you're keeping track of trades
Let's start by saying this: the loss of wing Drew Miller to the Detroit Red Wings through waivers is not going to change anything about how the Tampa Bay Lightning does this season. Miller, good defensively, was pretty much invisible offensively with zero points in 14 games. Certainly, Paul Szczechura, called up from AHL Norfolk, can do just as much, and I bet will do more.
But we should also note that all that is left of the trade of Evgeny Artyukhin to the Ducks in exchange for Miller is now a 2010 third-round draft pick. We will wait and see how that pays off.
Look, not every trade is going to hit, and Tampa Bay did come out ahead in terms of payroll on the deal as Artyukhin is making $1 million this season. But it is too bad there was not immediate benefit other than cutting costs.
I'm not saying the team should have kept Artyukhin. For what he was being paid, he wasn't giving enough. In fact, he has two goals in 13 games for the Ducks and is averaging just 8:48 of ice time. Yes, he was big and fun to watch when he got rolling and could hit like a truck, but he took too many bad penalties, could not control the puck well and, as coach Rick Tocchet always said, did not have a good hockey IQ.
But in some ways, the Lighting was getting even less out of Miller.
So, we will wait and see what next year's draft brings. Or perhaps the pick is used as part of a trade. Whatever happens, trading Artyukhin, in the short run, anyway, did not bring a tangible return on the ice.
Collections for Metropolitan Ministries: The Lightning will be collecting food for Metropolitan Ministries on the St. Pete Times Forum Plaza before tonight's game with the Wild and Saturday's game with the Kings.
Other stuff from the morning skate: Szczechura will be in the lineup tonight against the Wild. After playing with the Lightning last season, Szczechura was sent to AHL Norfolk after a disappointing training camp. But with a team-high 14 points for the Admirals, he deserves a shot. Szczechura admitted there also was a sense of personal accomplishment being called back up to the big club. "Definitely ," he said. "I guess the hard work is paying off. I just want to continue that and make sure I can contribute here as much as I can. ... Trainer Tommy Mulligan said the fact that defenseman Victor Hedman was wearing a mouth guard saved the rookie from a more severe concussion when he was hit by Ottawa's Chris Neil. Mulligan said the mouth guard prevented Hedman's jaw from being pushed up even farther than it was. Mulligan said about half the Lightning players where mouth guards, though he wishes there were more, and he recommends that they do. ... Tocchet on captain Vinny Lecavalier: "He's cleaned up his game where we wanted him defensively. He wasn't playing good defensively. He was getting beat. We watched a ton of video. ... He scored a lot of goals in front of the net, a lot of tipped goals. That's the sort of stuff he has to get back to. He's a big player who has to go through the box."