Tampa Bay Lightning acquires defensemen Keith Aulie, Brian Lee and Mike Commodore
The Tampa Bay Lightning had a busy Monday making three trades so far that all added to the team's blue line.
Tampa Bay acquired Mike Commodore from the Red Wings for a conditional seventh-round draft pick. It acquired Keith Aulie from the Maple Leafs for prospect Carter Ashton and it acquired Brian Lee from the Senators for defenseman Matt Gilroy.
The most interesting trade was the acquisition of Aulie as Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman has repeatedly said he did not want to give up his top prospects or high draft choices. That he did so for Aulie, 22, tells you how highly he thinks of him. Aulie, 22, is 6 feet 6 217 pounds. In 57 NHL games he has two goals, four points and is minus-3 with 48 penalty minutes. Lee, 24, is 6-3, 205 pounds. In 167 NHL games for Ottawa he has five goals, 28 points and is minus-18 with 100 penalty minutes.
The Lightning needed to get younger, faster and stronger on defense. This is part of that plan. Yzerman also wants young pieces to build around Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman.
Commodore, 32, is a bit more muddled. He is a pending unrestricted free agent who has played only 17 games this season, and been a healthy scratch most of time. Won't cost Tampa Bay much as his contract is only $1 million, so the Lightning's responsibility is only about $220,000, and Yzerman knows him because he played for Yzerman's gold-medal 2007 world championship team.
Whether the trade was just for veteran depth for this season -- Hedman is hurt and might have a concussion -- is something we'll have to wait and see.