Sunday, December 17, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning not willing to pay Blues' price for minor-league goalie Ben Bishop

NEWARK — Lightning GM Steve Yzerman said he spoke to the Blues about minor-league G Ben Bishop but was not willing to give up a second-round draft pick for him.

Bishop, 25, who has received much publicity as a potential franchise player, was traded to the Senators for a 2013 second-round pick.

That little drama seemed to end the bulk of Tampa Bay's work headed into today's 3 p.m. trade deadline.

"We've made our moves," Yzerman said Sunday. "We'll work the phones and see what's going on. But as far as acquiring players or real impact players, it's more likely than not at the draft."

In other words, acquiring a No. 1 goaltender — Vancouver's Cory Schneider, perhaps — will have to wait.

As for today, Yzerman said there is mild interest in some of his potential unrestricted free agents, including defensemen Brett Clark, Bruno Gervais and Matt Gilroy, goaltender Dwayne Roloson, and forwards Ryan Shannon and Adam Hall.

LW Ryan Malone also has been through the rumor mill, but Yzerman seems more inclined to keep the player, whose salary drops to $3 million next season from $5.5 million.

Yzerman said he is happy the trades of Dominic Moore, Pavel Kubina and Steve Downie helped him accumulate two first-round picks in the June draft and up to four in the second round.

"They are assets," he said. "Whether we choose to use them as draft picks or in trades, we have some options there."

A more immediate concern is what to do with Brett Connolly. Tampa Bay has until the trade deadline to send the rookie right wing to Tri-City of the junior Western league so he is eligible for its playoffs.

The question is: Is Connolly better served playing there or the NHL?

"There's an argument for both sides," Yzerman said. "He plays the final (20) games and gets a lot of ice time, obviously, the NHL is a better league than junior hockey. The tempo is higher, the players are stronger. He's going to benefit on that if he plays."

Connolly, 19, has four goals and nine points in 48 games, but has just one assist in his past 26. He admittedly has struggled defensively, and his average ice time is just 10:44.

That said, Connolly's past three games, in which he has played on the power play and averaged 13:09 of ice time, have been his best in a while.

"I don't know that he really struggled. He hasn't played a whole lot," Yzerman said. "The coaches were going with veteran guys, trying to win. It's hard to have an impact when you play five minutes."

HURTING: D Victor Hedman sat out against New Jersey with what might be a concussion.

"I can't say one way or another," Yzerman said, adding he preferred to wait for the results of testing today in Tampa.

If Hedman, hurt Saturday against the Penguins, is concussed, it would be the second time in two months. He missed 13 games in January.

ODDS AND ENDS: D Evan Oberg was recalled from AHL Norfolk and played 11:25. In eight previous callups he played 1:21. … Shannon (upper body), D Marc-Andre Bergeron and C Vinny Lecavalier (hand) also were scratched.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at [email protected] View his blog at lightning.tampabay.com. Follow him on Twitter at @LightningTimes.

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