Thursday, November 23, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

As deadline nears, St. Louis trade talk grows quiet

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ST. LOUIS — Has Marty St. Louis played his last game for the Lightning?

Though trade chatter about the captain has shrunk to almost nothing, no one has guaranteed he will be with the team past today's 3 p.m. deadline.

"I'm not thinking about that at all," St. Louis said after Tuesday's morning skate. "I'll be honest with you, I'm just thinking about the game."

Asked if he believes St. Louis will stay with Tampa Bay, C Steven Stamkos said, "I hope so. You never know what can happen. … It's going to be an anxious day here, but we'll see what happens. I just hope everyone is still here."

Speculation St. Louis is on his way out erupted last week when it was reported the right wing asked for a trade, though speculation is St. Louis will waive his no-move clause only to go to the Rangers; St. Louis has a house in nearby Greenwich, Conn., where he and his family spend their summers.

Neither St. Louis, 38, arguably the franchise's greatest player, who has one year left on his contract, nor Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman has squelched those rumors.

Coach Jon Cooper did not specifically address St. Louis' situation, but in discussing the team's wish list for the trade deadline said, "Sometimes the wish list is doing absolutely nothing at all, and we like where we're at."

Besides, Cooper added, the Lightning, even if it does not make a trade, is "probably going to make the biggest deal at the deadline. We're going to get (Stamkos) back. No other team is picking up a 60-goal scorer."

Stamkos, recovering from a broken right tibia, will have an X-ray today in Tampa to determine if he is ready to play Thursday at home against the Sabres.

"I know what I think means absolutely nothing, it's how the X-ray looks, but I feel great," Stamkos said. "It pretty much feels the same as my other leg."

Stamkos, 24, has missed 45 games since he was injured Nov. 11, when he slid into a goalpost at Boston.

"It's driven me crazy from the beginning," he said. "This is an important time of the year. Hopefully, I can come back fresh and feel good."

And no one is traded before the deadline.

"I just hope all the guys who are in the dressing room now are here (today) and we can go on with this great bunch of guys we started the year with," Stamkos said.

Filppula returns: C Valtteri Filppula, out four games with a non-displaced fracture of his right ankle, was back in the lineup against the Blues.

"The strength felt better," he said after the morning skate. "That was the main thing, to get that back."

Filppula had 21 goals, 41 points in 56 game entering Tuesday, but he might have been missed more in the faceoff circle. Filppula won 51.9 percent of his draws entering Tuesday. In the four games he missed, the Lightning won just 44.6 percent.

"It's going to be sore for a while," Filppula said. "But I feel comfortable turning and I feel I have the strength in my leg. That's the main thing."

More medical matters: As expected, D Radko Gudas (left leg), injured Sunday at Colorado, sat out against the Blues and will be reevaluated today. Gudas said he does not believe the injury is serious, though Cooper indicated he might be out up to a week. … G Anders Lindback is back with the team after a two-game conditioning assignment with AHL Syracuse. "It benefited me knowing I can trust the ankle," he said. … C Tyler Johnson, who sustained at least a bruised left foot from a shot Feb. 4 at Minnesota, did not skate Tuesday morning but played against the Blues.

Odds and ends: St. Louis, with an assist on Johnson's first-period goal, tied Andy Bathgate for 84th all-time with 973 career points. … RW Alex Killorn played his 100th NHL game and scored Tampa Bay's first goal. … D Mike Kostka and C Vlad Namestnikov also were scratched.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at [email protected]

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