Tampa Bay Lightning's pursuit of Alex Tanguay seems stalled but not over, and other updates
What is the latest on the Tampa Bay Lightning's pursuit of Alex Tanguay? Though Tampa Bay GM Brian Lawton still will not confirm by name that the team is after the scoring wing, it is clear the Lightning would love Tanguay to play on a line with center Vinny Lecavalier, especially if you buy into the idea Marty St. Louis will start the season with center Steven Stamkos.
What Lawton did say, speaking generally, is, "We're still interested. We have an offer out there. ... It takes time. People want to evaluate all their options, and they should. You want to make the right decision. I understand that."
The scuttlebutt is the competition is between the Lightning and Wild, and Tanguay's agent did not respond to a text message. Lawton did confirm, though, that barring another player move that would cut payroll, it does not appear the Lightning will increase its offer.
"There won't be any increases on offers unless we move existing players," Lawton said.
It is believed Tampa Bay would like to find homes for defenseman Lukas Krajicek ($1.475 million) and David Hale ($725,000), and forwards Ryan Craig ($800,000) and Brandon Bochenski ($550,000). It also is hoped Tanguay will understand that playing, maybe even for a little less money, with the Lightning and next to players such as Lecavalier, St. Louis, Stamkos and Ryan Malone, gives him the best chance to succeed and merit a big payday beginning in 2010-11.
Whatever happens, Lawton said, "From our perspective, everyday we're looking at everything that's going on. We feel a lot better about where the team is at today than before the draft, but we'd always like to make it better."
Where does the Lightning stand with other unsigned restricted free agents? They could come to camp even if not signed if the Lightning gives permission, and while Lawton said that is not his first choice, he likely would not object.
Matt Lashoff: The defenseman's agent seemed confident his client ultimately will sign. Tampa Bay wants him to sign a two-way deal that pays less if Lashoff plays in the minors. Lashoff, not surprisingly, would like a one-way.
Mike Lundin: Lundin's agent said there is a disagreement with the Lightning on where his client "fits" within the organization, which also wants the defenseman to sign a two-way deal. While Lundin may feel he is buried on the depth chart, Lawton said he is in good position to compete for a roster spot as the team could carry up to eight blue-liners. Lundin may be hoping for a trade and a fresh start, but Lawton said, "Mike's a good player. We're not going to give him away for nothing."
Martins Karsums: The Latvian wing seems the most likely to play in Europe if he does not sign. His agent could not be reached for comment, but Lawton said he "doesn't anticipate any problems" forging a contract, and could have something done in the "next few days."