Tanguay? Sykora? Satan? Lightning said to be "tire-kicking"
Let's start with this: If the Lightning was to sign any of these still free agents (Alex Tanguay, Petr Sykora, Miroslav Satan), it will have to be at a bargain price. The team, with a payroll already pushing towards $50 million and with pieces such as Matt Smaby, Matt Lashoff and Mike Lundin yet to sign, isn't going to dive into any more big contracts. So the team will wait, most likely, and see if the market falls and sees who is available as training camps get closer. Either that, or the team can do a sell job such as the following ...
After a down season, come to us, play with Vinny Lecavalier, score your 30 to 35 goals and parlay that into a big contract in 2010-11. In other words, Tampa Bay will use the player for a year at a discount and then wave goodbye as that player (after a presumed big year playing next to Vinny) commands a contract more than the Lightning can afford.
It is an argument not totally out of line when talking baout the above players, all of whom, in one way or another, had disappointing seasons and have reputations to resurrect.
How serious is the Lightning's interst with these players?
It is no secret that in a perfect world, Lawton wants to add another top-six forward and even a bottom six. In fact, there is some scuttlebutt Lawton took a look at Tom Kostopoulos, a gritty, bottom-six player, before he signed with the Hurricanes. But, first, let's go back to the payroll. It seems the team will try to move at least one defenseman since there is some depth there (whether it's Lukas Krajicek and his $1.5 million salary or one of the youngsters is the question), and perhaps another player to get the payroll down, though it's looking more and more as if Jeff Halpern, despite a $2 million salary, will start the season as the third-line center.
In the meantime, all the agents who represent these players declined to coment. But another, well-aware of all things going on around the league (agents goosip, too) said he would characterize the Lightning's interst in Tanguay, Sykora and Satan as "tire-kicking."