Vrbata, Gratton on waivers
The Chris Gratton stuff is easy. He was put on waivers (we'll know by noon tomorrow if he is claimed) because he has not done much and is injured and, blah, blah, blah.
The more interesting situation is with right wing Radim Vrbata, whom the Lightning signed over the summer to a three-year, $9-million contract. Things have not gone well for Vrbata here. He has three goals and six points in 18 games and has not impressed anyone with his nose for pucks.
Vrbata was unhappy as well and on Sunday spoke to management about it. With wife Petra five months pregnant with their first child, he asked if he could be moved to a team in his native Czech Republic. The Lightning's contract with Vrbata stipulates the Lightning can make such a move and, the best part for Tampa Bay, the team would get both the salary and cap relief.
But this only applies to the first year of the three-year deal. Tampa Bay is still responsible for the second and third years of the contract. That means either Vrbata returns or the Lightning, works a deal in the interim. Or perhaps Vrbata is claimed off waivers, not likely given his production and contract, but possible.
In the interim, a deal with a Czech team has to be worked out. That apparently has not yet happened and likely cannot be finalized, anyway, until Vrbata clears waivers.
GM Brian Lawton is not yet available for comment.