TAMPA — Lightning GM Brian Lawton said acquiring a rental player before today's 3 p.m. trade deadline is not his first choice. Deals like that — for players whose contracts expire after the season — can provide short-term "pop" but can cost more in the long run if the player leaves.
"I don't want to end the day with a few rentals with nothing to show for the future," Lawton said. "The future will be here soon enough."
Besides, he added, the Lightning's lack of organizational depth won't allow it.
"We just don't have the assets from the past built up where we can toss a few out here, toss a few out there," he said. "We're looking for deals that make sense moving forward."
In other words, deals for players with contracts that don't expire after the season.
But considering what is available, Lawton said, and the high prices, he would not be surprised if he does not find the right deal.
Lawton said the current roster can make the playoffs.
"I like this group," he said. "You'd like to add some pop to the lineup, but I've said from Day 1 I like this group. I like their work ethic. I like the diversity in our group."
So Lawton will work the phones, looking for a defenseman who can move the puck and a scoring wing. He said he has made "major" offers, and there are rumors G Mike Smith and forwards Jeff Halpern and Alex Tanguay have been discussed. But the team's first-round draft pick, its two third-round picks, two fourths, a sixth and a seventh seem safe, and Lawton said he "would not be overly surprised" if he did not make a deal.
"You'd love to help, always," Lawton said. "That's the goal. I'm just not sure it's out there with the market the way it is."
QUICK DRAW: A display on the St. Pete Times Forum scoreboard and a simultaneous announcement touted an upcoming Q&A session with "new Lightning owner" Jeff Vinik. But Vinik is not yet the owner as he waits for NHL approval and the sale to close. The team admitted the mistake.
SILVER SURFER: LW Ryan Malone, who won silver at the Olympics, said he believes the NHL should be part of the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia.
Of the United States' 3-2 overtime loss to Canada in the gold-medal game, he said, "I truly thought we were the better team in that game."
IN STITCHES: Zenon Konopka (sore back) said he needed pain killers to play in his 100th NHL game. But the center said more problematic was the deep cut between his right pinkie and ring finger. He said the cut that went to his tendon and required seven stitches was sustained in a Feb. 9 fight with Rick Rypien.
ODDS AND ENDS: C Steven Stamkos has 12 goals, 13 assists in his team-record 14-game points streak. … Flyers C Mike Richards, who had a goal and three assists Tuesday, has five goals, 11 points this season against Tampa Bay. … New assistant coach Jim Johnson watched from the press box. … RW Brandon Bochenski cleared re-entry waivers from AHL Norfolk but was scratched. … RW Mark Parrish was recalled and played. … D Matt Walker (lower body) was scratched.