Saturday, May 26, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lighting players laud GM's offseason moves

When Lightning right wing Teddy Purcell, through mutual friends, ran into Predators defenseman Shea Weber at a Blue Jays game in Toronto, he immediately asked about Anders Lindback.

Acquired from Nashville, Lindback, Pekka Rinne's backup the past two seasons, is expected to be Tampa Bay's solution to its long-time problem in goal.

"Obviously, it was one of the first things I asked him," Purcell said. "He was saying how Lindback is not a backup goalie, he's a No. 1 goalie, so that's very encouraging for all of us."

Several Lightning players are just as encouraged about the job done over the summer by general manager Steve Yzerman, who with five transactions aggressively addressed his team's biggest needs and maintained roster flexibility by staying $7 million under the $70.2 million salary cap.

"I'm very happy, and that's a bit of an understatement," defenseman Eric Brewer said. "They clearly identified some areas they wanted to get better, and it seems they really went after it."

"With the moves they made, I think we can get something done," wing Marty St. Louis said, "and that's exciting."

The inventory:

• Acquired Ben Pouliot from the Bruins for a 2012 fifth-round draft pick and minor-leaguer Michel Ouellet. The left wing, with 16 goals last season, will get a chance to earn a top-six spot.

• Acquired Lindback for two 2012 second-round picks and a 2013 third-round pick, a steep price but worth it if the 6-foot-6 Swede becomes a bona fide No. 1, as many predict.

• Signed free agent defensemen Matt Carle and Sami Salo. They give the blue line a much-needed upgrade, and their puck-moving abilities will help the transition game. Salo's big right-handed shot should boost the power play.

• Acquired tough guy B.J. Crombeen and a 2014 fifth-round pick from the Blues for fourth-round picks in 2013 and '14. Yzerman said the team needed to get bigger and tougher, especially after last season's trade of Steve Downie. Crombeen gives Tampa Bay a heavyweight fighter who also can contribute on the penalty kill and chip in a goal.

"I think it's great," captain Vinny Lecavalier said of the moves. "You look at what we have this year with the guys we had and the guys we added, they're all guys who can move the puck. That's going to be a great help."

For now, it seems Yzerman is done tinkering. He has interest in free agent Shane Doan but said he has not gotten a response from Doan's agent, so he assumes there is little return interest.

Besides, Yzerman said, he wants to give opportunities to players within the organization to earn spots with the big club: "So unless it's a player I know is going to be better than one of those guys, we're not going to fill a spot."

We'll see how it all works out. Remember, goalie Mike Smith was supposed to be the next big thing when he came over from the Stars in the Brad Richards deal in 2008.

For now, though, as Yzerman said, "I think we've addressed a lot of needs."

"Obviously, during (last) season it was hard to see some of your best friends go," Purcell said of the trades of Downie, Pavel Kubina and Dominic Moore. "At the same time, we all knew Steve was going to build back up in the summer, and he's done that."

Comments
Steve Yzermanís summer plans: Make the Lightning better

Steve Yzermanís summer plans: Make the Lightning better

TAMPA — Captain Steven Stamkos said the Lightning's window for contending for a Stanley Cup championship is not closing."I think it's wide open," he said Thursday, one day after the Lightning lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final to the C...
Updated: 6 hours ago
When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

TAMPA — Disbelief will eventually give way to acceptance.The Lightning isn't there yet.It isn't there yet in a lot of ways.Will it ever be?Just wondering.Really, what guarantees are there?Late Wednesday, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechki...
Published: 05/24/18
Fight off the frustration, Lightning, and donít panic

Fight off the frustration, Lightning, and donít panic

TAMPA — Don't change a thing.Don't blow it up. Don't fire anyone. Don't overreact.Thursday was not an easy day in Lightning Land. It was the day after the end of a season that ended much too soon. It was a day when bags were packed, questions w...
Published: 05/24/18
Lightning journal: Ryan Callahan, among others, played hurt

Lightning journal: Ryan Callahan, among others, played hurt

TAMPA — Not surprisingly, several Lightning players went through the playoffs with what general manager Steve Yzerman called "significant injuries."He would not elaborate Thursday on who they were, though he said that information will be made p...
Published: 05/24/18
Lightning fans leaving Game 7 early: Understandable or bad form?

Lightning fans leaving Game 7 early: Understandable or bad form?

TAMPA — Lightning fans were heading for the exits with three minutes remaining in Tampa Bay's 4-0 loss to Washington Wednesday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final. Understandable given the disappointment of not reaching the Stanley C...
Published: 05/24/18
The single biggest reason Tampa Bay isnít headed to the Stanley Cup final

The single biggest reason Tampa Bay isnít headed to the Stanley Cup final

TAMPA — Washington is on to Vegas. The Lightning is not. So we asked the Times' Lightning coverage team for the single biggest reason Tampa Bay isn't headed to the Stanley Cup final. Here's their answers:Roger Mooney, staff writer: Th...
Published: 05/24/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Scoring drought brings Lightning season to a close

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Scoring drought brings Lightning season to a close

The Lightning will miss out on the Stanley Cup final after being shut out by the Capitals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final. The Bolts were the highest-scoring team during the regular season but failed to score in almost all of the final eigh...
Published: 05/24/18
Postgame reactions from Lightningís Game 7 loss to the Capitals

Postgame reactions from Lightningís Game 7 loss to the Capitals

The Lightning was shut out once in the first 97 games of the season, the playoffs included. Then it was shut out during the last two games of the Eastern Conference final, including 4-0 on Wednesday to the Capitals in Game 7.Here are some postgame re...
Published: 05/24/18
Lightning journal: A rare fight to this finish

Lightning journal: A rare fight to this finish

TAMPA — After Alex Ovechkin's goal 62 seconds into Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final Wednesday, the next highlight was an extended fight between Lightning D Braydon Coburn and Capitals RW Tom Wilson, with a two-minute break for them to spe...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/24/18
Lightningís season ends one win short of Stanley Cup final with 4-0 loss to Capitals

Lightningís season ends one win short of Stanley Cup final with 4-0 loss to Capitals

TAMPA — The Lightning's dream season ended late Wednesday with the final horn, or, if you prefer, early in the second period of Game 5, when it scored its last goal of the Eastern Conference final.How about that? The team with the most regular-...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/24/18