Tampa Bay Lightning quiet at trade deadline
The 3 p.m. trade deadline came and went without a deal by the Tampa Bay Lightning. There were a couple of rumors. A fairly strong one this morning that the Hurricanes were looking at defenseman Randy Jones, and a weaker one last week that the Blackhawks had some interest in Brett Clark. But in the end, nothing was done.
Tampa Bay's biggest rival in the Southeast, the Capital, made themselves stronger with the additions of forward Jason Arnott and defenseman Dennis Wideman.
But there are several caveats when evaluating what the Lightning did or didn't do. First, realize the team made several significant additions before deadline day: defenseman Eric Brewer, goaltender Dwayne Roloson and defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron. Also, general manager Steve Yzerman, in the first year of a multi-year rebuilding program, has to think about the future, and that meant refusing to trade first- or second-round draft choices or significant prospects.
That the Lightning was quiet on Monday was pretty much telegraphed by Yzerman on Sunday. While acknowledging having nine defenseman on the roster is not ideal, something that likely will happen this week when Mike Lundin and Mattias Ohlund are back in the lineup, Yzerman said he would not trade a defenseman unless he could get back a forward who could step in and play right away and was better than anything Tampa Bay has in the minors. He obviously didn't see anything he liked.
Part of that equation is that the Lightning believes injured wing Ryan Malone will be recovered from what is believed a stomach muscle injury and playing the first week of April. If so, that would be a huge piece back in the lineup.
As coach Guy Boucher said Sunday, if Malone comes back healthy, "We have everything we need."