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. Ryan Callahan encouraged by his return


    Captain Steven Stamkos wasn't the only key Lightning player to make a triumphant return Friday night against Nashville.

  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb hates to hear how he "battled through" or "grinded out" a start rather than just dominated, but that's kind of what he did Friday, allowing nine hits and a walk and being charged with two wild pitches but only three runs in earning his 12th win.

  3. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.
  4. Rays journal: Alex Cobb may have pitched last game in Rays uniform (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — RHP Alex Cobb pitched well enough to lead the Rays to an 8-3 win over the Orioles on Friday.

    Wilson Ramos gives thanks after hitting a grand slam during the second inning, putting the Rays up 4-0.
  5. Ww's Odessabeach makes run at Husker Magic stakes final


    ST. PETERSBURG — When Hurricane Irma blew through Florida earlier this month, Ww's Odessabeach remained in her comfort zone.