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We know the Tampa Bay Lightning is interested in Alex Tanguay; agent says it is mutual

6

August

Scoring wing Alex Tanguay switched agents recently to Steve Kotlowitz. That shouldn't change the dynamic too much in the Tampa Bay Lightning's pursuit of the unrestricted free agent (Tampa Bay's ace in the hole could be that Tanguay played for coach Rick Tocchet when Tocchet was an assistant in Colorado). But Kotlowitz, unlike Tanguay's former agent, Bob Sauve, is a little bit more forthcoming.

Not much, mind you, but it is more than we got from Sauve.

"Tampa is certainly one of the teams Alex has strong interest in," Kotlowitz said Thursday.

What does that mean? Well, let's read between the lines. It probably means Tanguay understands the Lightning's financial situation and perhaps is willing to go the one-year-contract route. That serves two purposes. It doesn't lock in Tampa Bay to a lot of money over a long-term deal. It also gives Tanguay some incentive to perform while looking for a bigger payoff and playing with guys like Vinny Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis and Steven Stamkos. It also probably means Tanguay likes what he has seen the Lightning do in the offseason and believes the team has at least a chance to win.

Still, it will take some money to sign Tanguay, and Tampa Bay's payroll is at $46.72 million. So let's speculate on how the team can make some cuts. Who, in other words, could the team trade? I'm not saying any of these players will go, just saying why they could be candidates.

Lukas Krajicek: The defenseman was signed to a one-year, $1.475 million deal. Now that Tampa Bay has added Mattias Ohlund, Matt Walker and Kurtis Foster, Krajicek, who does not play a physical game, is, at best, sixth on the depth chart.

David Hale: A defenseman the Lightning got from the Coyotes in the Radim Vrbata deal that also landed Todd Fedoruk. Fedoruk will be a useful third- or fourth-line player. But Hale seemed almost like a throw-in. And at $725,000 he has not done anything in his career that says he is better than Matt Smaby at $500,000.

Brandon Bochenski: A wing who skates well enough but is not physical and has a one-way contract worth $550,000.

Ryan Craig: One of the nicest guys on the team and one of the few last season who was not afraid to really get his nose dirty when it came to some of the rough stuff as well as play in front of the net. But knee problems have slowed the forward down, and Tocchet has made it known he is expecting to play a fast-paced game. Craig will make $800,000 next season.

Like I said, not saying any of the above will go, but there are reasons the Lightning, looking to shed payroll to add a guy like Tanguay, could explore the market.         

[Last modified: Sunday, August 16, 2009 4:39pm]

    

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