Did Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman just have his Jay Feaster moment?
Yzerman on Friday acquired veteran defenseman Eric Brewer from the Blues — basically for a song; he traded a 2011 third-round draft pick and the rights to blue-line prospect Brock Beukeboom — in a move that gives Tampa Bay an experienced minute muncher who can stabilize the defensive zone and, as a former captain, provide leadership.
That sounds a lot like when Feaster, the Lightning's general manager in 2004, brought in defenseman Darryl Sydor from the Blue Jackets for disappointing center Alexander Svitov and a third-round pick.
That trade, regarded as one of the best in team history, provided a missing piece in the drive to the Stanley Cup.
Not saying the Lightning is on its way to a championship, but a more capable, deeper defense might mitigate some of the speed and coverage deficiencies exposed, especially in the first period, of Thursday's 6-2 loss to the Red Wings.
And though Yzerman said defenseman Mike Lundin's injury (out indefinitely with what is believed to be an abdominal issue) did not push him to make the trade, Lundin's absence, and the hole it created, is another reminder of the team's lack of defensive options.
So, where does Yzerman go from here as the Feb. 28 trade deadline approaches? If he follows Feaster's model, he looks for depth.
Feaster in 2004 also picked up defensemen Stan Neckar and Timo Helbling. Though Neckar was in just two playoff games and Helbling was a minor-leaguer, Tampa Bay had more bodies on which to fall back in case of injuries.
Given Mattias Ohlund's creaky knees and that Matt Smaby — as even he says — is a "magnet" for annoying hurts (he was twice hit with pucks during Friday's practice), better safe than sorry, an axiom Yzerman already has taken to heart.