Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has options to bolster defense

By now, there has to be some concern within the Lightning that Mattias Ohlund will not play this season, much less soon.

The defenseman has not skated in several weeks because of pain that has persisted in his knees despite Oct. 11 arthroscopic surgeries on both to clean out what the team called "loose bodies."

Ohlund is frustrated by the situation, the team is as well, and fans are wondering what GM Steve Yzerman is going to do.

He has several options.

• He can stick with what he has. Bruno Gervais has done a credible job as a No. 6 defenseman in the absence of injured Pavel Kubina, so for now, at least, there is no reason to panic.

• Yzerman could get aggressive and call up Radko Gudas or Mark Barberio from AHL Norfolk. Barberio had three goals and 19 points and was plus-11 through his first 23 games. Gudas, a big hitter, had four goals and nine points and was plus-4.

Yzerman, though, is not one to rush a prospect, and long term he believes those players are better served playing big minutes in Norfolk than a supporting role with the Lightning.

• He could make a trade. Yzerman would love to obtain a steady defender with speed. But so would just about everybody else. Tampa Bay doesn't have the depth to deal a primary roster player, and to get something significant, Yzerman would have to give something significant. He also has little interest in dealing top prospects or high draft choices.

Then there is the matter of what is available. It still is early in the season (meaning most contracts still have a lot of money pending) and teams are so bunched together in the standings (meaning not many are out of playoff contention) that teams are more interested in shedding bad contracts than worrying about paring those they cannot sign for next season.

The Hurricanes were desperate to dump floundering Tomas Kaberle and his $4.25 million annual salary through 2013-14. Shockingly, they found a taker in the Canadiens last week. That is the current market.

Yzerman is patient. Expect him to wait for what he believes is the right situation, whether it comes sooner or later.

Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has options to bolster defense 12/10/11 [Last modified: Saturday, December 10, 2011 6:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Former Gator Caleb Brantley paying a steep price for nothing


    It turns out Caleb Brantley isn't quite the dirtbag that millions of people presumed. It's too bad the damage to his reputation and bank account is already done.

    Caleb Brantley, who dropped to the sixth round of the draft, works out during Browns rookie minicamp. [Associated Press]
  2. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Tampa Bay Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo (25) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) as he rounds third on his lead off home run in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, May 22, 2017.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    OF/DH Corey Dickerson missed out on a good birthday gift when AL player of the week honors went instead to Detroit's J.D. Martinez. Dickerson hit .385 with five homers, nine RBIs and nine runs; Martinez went .389-4-9-7 and got the nod.

  4. Rays journal: Alex Cobb learning to work with what he has



    If this were 2012 or 2013, even 2014, RHP Alex Cobb would have problems. He would find himself working with only two of his three pitches, with the missing pitch being his trusty changeup.

    Alex Cobb, working mainly with his fastball and curveball, is 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA over his past five starts. The Rays right-hander tries to continue his strong stretch tonight against the Angels.
  5. Rays vs. Angels, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Angels

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)