TAMPA — Lightning GM Steve Yzerman said Tuesday he is no closer to determining whether he will be a buyer or seller at the Feb. 27 deadline.
Yzerman had said he believed clarity would come after the homestand that ended against the Kings. But with the team still on the edge of the playoff conversation, there is no longer a clear timetable, though the upcoming three-game road trip that starts Thursday against the Rangers likely will be key.
"The team is playing well," Yzerman said before Tampa Bay's 3-1 loss stopped its 6-0-1 points streak. "We're winning games. There's still lots of time left. … Let this play itself out."
There was a minor stir when for the eighth time D Evan Oberg was called up from AHL Norfolk. With Marc-Andre Bergeron in the lineup after missing nine games with a back injury, Tampa Bay has nine healthy blue-liners. That sparked thoughts of a pending trade.
But Yzerman said Oberg was insurance for a team that wants to dress seven defensemen and see how Bergeron's back reacts.
"No trades or things that you would love to hear; nothing to speculate on," coach Guy Boucher said. "It's just a precaution thing. If something happens, it will be something that comes out of the blue."
If you listen to Yzerman, that does not seem likely.
"The trade market dictates what, if anything, we're going to do," he said. "At this point there's nothing that makes any sense that is the right thing to do whether it's short or long term."
hall BACK: Expected to be out two months, RW Adam Hall cut that in half when he returned Tuesday after missing 12 games with a left biceps injury. Hall, Tampa Bay's most-used penalty killer among forwards, played 5:30 in the game with two hits.
MORE MEDICAL MATTERS: LW Ryan Malone (upper body) skated with the team and said he is shooting for a Saturday return at Pittsburgh. … C Nate Thompson played after having an MRI exam on an undisclosed injury that forced him to leave Monday's practice early.
LINEUP: While getting two assists in Saturday's 6-3 win over the Panthers, W Ryan Shannon got time on a line with C Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis. That continued against the Kings.
"As a player, if you live and die based on reward and being in the doghouse it becomes a roller coaster and I don't think that's good for your psyche," Shannon said. "Regardless of who I'm playing with, I just want to build the foundation of my game."
For Shannon, with a disappointing two goals, nine points in 28 games, that is speed.
"If I simplify my game and think about my speed and covering the ice and being responsible with the puck, plays build off that foundation," he said.
ODDS AND ENDS: The Lightning and representatives for C Dominic Moore have had at least preliminary discussions about a new contract. … C Steven Stamkos turned 22 and got a shaving cream pie in the face from teammate Steve Downie. … Oberg, RW Brett Connolly and D Matt Gilroy were scratched. … Watch parties for the next three road games are at Champions restaurant at the Marriott Waterside Hotel, 700 S Florida Ave., Tampa.