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Tampa Bay Lightning might deal veterans at trade deadline

With the Lightning not expected to move any of its big-name players by the 3 p.m. Wednesday trade deadline, don't expect any windfalls. Draft choices are the top priority for general manager Brian Lawton as he tries to augment what likely will be a very high top choice.

Right wing Mark Recchi seems the most likely to be moved followed by left wing Gary Roberts and, perhaps, center Jeff Halpern. All could provide a playoff contender with on- and off-ice leadership, a spark of offense, grit and professionalism.

A primer:

Vinny Lecavalier: If the Lightning is going to trade its star center before his no-move clause kicks in on July 1, it is much more likely to happen during the summer. That is when teams that don't want to reshape themselves during a playoff run will be more willing to give up the substantial package necessary for Tampa Bay to claim a winning transaction.

Marty St. Louis: Tampa Bay has an interesting equation to consider over the summer. The right wing has become an off-ice leader and still is an offensive spark plug. But he will be 34 in June. Is he more valuable on the team or for the assets he could return before his skills begin to slip?

Mark Recchi: The most likely to be traded at the deadline because he is a potential unrestricted free agent and the value he could bring in return. Recchi has 13 goals and is third on the team with 40 points. At 41, he still is a great skater and has the experience of winning two Stanley Cups.

Gary Roberts: The 42-year-old Cup winner has proved he can still affect a game with his tenacity and toughness. If it is his final season, Tampa Bay would rather not lose him for nothing.

Jeff Halpern: Coach Rick Tocchet loves Halpern's professionalism, leadership and commitment to both sides of the puck. He also has a cap-friendly $2 million salary next season, so any deal would have to be a clear victory for the Lightning.

Marek Malik: A potential unrestricted free agent, the defenseman could bring patience with the puck. But he is slow-footed, and an ankle injury hasn't helped.

Vinny Prospal: He would be a good addition for a playoff team. But given he has three years left on a four-year, $14 million deal and has underperformed with 15 goals, 38 points and at minus-14, the left wing will be difficult to move.

Matt Pettinger: The left wing is a good skater and is unrestricted after the season. Could add depth to a playoff team and would cost only a mid to low-level draft choice.

Steven Stamkos: Are you kidding?

Tampa Bay Lightning might deal veterans at trade deadline 02/28/09 [Last modified: Sunday, March 1, 2009 8:06am]
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