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 prefers to get young, quality goalie in a trade

After much speculation about what Steve Yzerman is looking for in a No. 1 goaltender, the Lightning general manager defined his terms.

"My preference," he said, "is to go with a little bit of a younger guy that maybe has a little less experience and can step up and play well for us now."

To illustrate, Yzerman mentioned Semyon Varlamov, 24, whom the Avalanche got last summer from the Capitals for first- and second-round draft picks, and who in 53 games this season had a fine 2.59 goals-against average and .913 save percentage.

Yzerman said he will try through June to trade for his own upside-heavy asset.

"And if we can't do anything in that way, we look forward to July 1," he said of the start of unrestricted free agency.

It is as detailed as Yzerman has been about his plans and as notable for whom they seem to exclude: Vancouver's Roberto Luongo.

There is the thought Tampa Bay is the natural landing spot for Luongo, 33, who during the playoffs lost his starting job to Cory Schneider and has indicated he will accept a trade.

That Yzerman was executive director and Luongo was in net when Canada won gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics has helped fuel the conjecture.

Would Yzerman like to have Luongo? Sure. And a cynic would say the GM's openness about his ideal goalie is merely a smokescreen for his competitors.

But that overlooks Luongo's problematic contract, which has 10 years left and pays $6.714 million until Luongo is 39. Given the Lightning's experience this season with Dwayne Roloson, 42, it does not seem an investment the team would make.

It is believed Yzerman actually covets Schneider, 26, who this season had a 1.96 goals-against average and .937 save percentage in 33 games. Assuming Schneider is not available, other goalies who seem to fit Yzerman's parameters and might be available in trade include Los Angeles' Jonathan Bernier, 23, and Nashville's Anders Lindback, 24, both backups.

As for unrestricted free agents, the most intriguing in a mediocre group is Minnesota's Josh Harding, which brings up an interesting scenario.

"We want to be a competitive team next year. We want to find the best goaltender we can," Yzerman said. "But I'm not going to do a long-term deal with someone I'm not comfortable with."

In other words, Yzerman sounds willing for next season to stitch together a tandem with Mathieu Garon and find a long-term solution there­after.

It's better, though, to get it done now with a trade, said Yzerman, who has two first-round picks (Nos. 10 and 19) in next month's draft and four in the second with which to barter.

"We're trying to identify a guy who we think may be ready to be a starter as opposed to one of the veterans and waiting until July 1," he said.

STAR SEARCH: How much does Yzerman like Swiss star Damien Brunner? "He's an exciting player," Yzerman said of the right wing. "He can really skate. He's really skilled. I'd like to sign him."

Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman prefers to get young, quality goalie in a trade 05/25/12 [Last modified: Friday, May 25, 2012 8:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Rangers game

    The Heater

    Judging by those who were asking for them before Saturday's giveaways, those who tried to get an extra one or two once inside the Trop and those who quickly slipped theirs on before finding their seats, the DJ Kitty Onesie might be the Rays' most popular giveaway. Ever.

  2. Rays vs. Rangers, 1:10 p.m. Sunday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Today: vs. Rangers

    1:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Florida; 620-AM, 760-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Pitcher Jake Odorizzi #23 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait at Charlotte Sports Park during photo day on February 26, 2014 in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
  3. Gators pick up commitment from 5-star QB Matt Corral


    Florida has picked up a major commitment toward its 2018 recruiting class, getting a pledge Saturday night from quarterback Matt Corral, rated a five-star recruit by Rivals and Scout.

  4. Warren Sapp has firsthand advice as Bucs try to toughen up


    TAMPA — It was a molten morning, surface of Mercury, on the football field at Skyway Park, near Tampa International Airport. Bucs Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp was working with some Bucs defensive linemen. HBO Hard Knocks crews followed them. Training camp was a week away. Sapp pointed to Bucs …

    Bucs defensive tackle Warren Sapp made it clear as a rookie that he wasn’t backing down from anyone, mixing it up with the Dolphins during summer scrimmages. [Times file]
  5. Rays Tales: With Rays surprising buyers, a look back at previous deadline deals

    The Heater

    The buildup to this July 31 trading deadline is different for the Rays, for the rudimentary reason that they are working — feverishly, from what we hear — to add on to a team they feel has a legitimate chance to make a playoff run.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price (14) throws a strike to open up the first inning of the Pittsburgh Pirates at the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, June 25, 2014.