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Finding trade for forward difficult for Tampa Bay Lightning

TAMPA — Lightning GM Steve Yzerman said he would like to add a forward before Monday's trade deadline.

With W Ryan Malone out until perhaps the playoffs because of what is believed to be a stomach muscle injury, another body up front would pick up some slack. "So I'd be interested in adding a forward," Yzerman said, "but it's going to be difficult for us to do that, realistically."

The problem is what Tampa Bay can offer. Yzerman kind of went back on his word not to trade his first-, second- or third-round draft picks in 2011 and 2012 when he sent a third-round pick to the Blues for D Eric Brewer last week. "I'm not going to trade any more draft picks," he said.

And that is limiting.

"For me to trade a (potential unrestricted free agent) to a team not in the playoffs, they're not interested in that," Yzerman said. "They want picks and prospects. And the teams that are in the playoffs, there aren't that many where there's a fit where I can add a forward."

There has been speculation Tampa Bay might be interested in Buffalo's Mike Grier, a 6-foot-1, 224-pound wing. Grier, 36, won't give much offense (three goals, 13 points in 59 games), but he entered Friday plus-2 and tied for third on the team with 96 hits.

"It's going to be difficult (to acquire) a forward who can replace Ryan Malone," Yzerman said. "In all likelihood it would be someone to add depth and buy us time until Ryan gets back."

MINOR INJURY: Coach Guy Boucher said the lower-body injury that caused D Mattias Ohlund to be a late scratch is not serious and he could be ready to play Wednesday in New Jersey.

WELCOME BACK: G Mike Smith cleared re-entry waivers Friday and backed up Dwayne Roloson against the Devils.

"Relieved," Smith said of returning to Tampa. "I've had a perma-grin since (Yzerman) called me. I'm just excited about being back here with the guys."

Smith was 1-4-0 with AHL Norfolk, but his 1.83 goals-against average and .924 save percentage indicated he played well.

"I'm definitely mentally stronger after all this," said Smith, demoted to Norfolk on Feb. 5 after going 17-10-5 in 17 games with a 3.20 GAA and .883 save percentage. "I went down there and played my game. I felt like myself again. Hopefully, I can bring that back up here."

What does this mean for G Curtis McElhinney, acquired Thursday from the Ducks for G Dan Ellis? He likely will be on waivers and sent to the minors.

LUCKY RESULT: D Brett Clark said he was fortunate only his knees hit the end boards when he was run in the third period by New Jersey's Mattias Tedenby, who was called for holding.

"He just got me in a bad position," Clark said. "I just went into the boards an awkward way."

ODDS AND ENDS: C Vinny Lecavalier and C Steven Stamkos led the game with five hits each. … LW Marty St. Louis has three goals, eight assists in an eight-game points streak. … D Mike Lundin, out eight games with what is believed to be an abdominal injury, could practice next week, Boucher said. … Devils RW David Clarkson, cut by a skate, needed 18 stitches in his right forearm. ... LW Johan Harju was scratched.

Finding trade for forward difficult for Tampa Bay Lightning 02/25/11 [Last modified: Saturday, February 26, 2011 12:26am]

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