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Tampa Bay Lightning open to trading up from No. 27 draft position

It is not necessarily in his plan, and the circumstances would have to be right, but Lightning GM Steve Yzerman said he is open to trading up from his No. 27 draft position.

"Oh, definitely," Yzerman said Friday. "You explore opportunities all the way up to almost until you're picking. Some of those things are really a call at the draft table."

The draft, which begins June 24 in St. Paul, Minn., is top-heavy. As Tampa Bay head scout Al Murray said, "There are eight to 10 players who are sort of the consensus top guys. … That next group of probably 40 players is all over the place, depending on individual team needs and individual preferences."

Yzerman said he likely would not target one player.

"Because by the time you move up, he may be gone if you don't move up a bunch of spots," the GM said. "So, it's got to be almost a group of players. 'We like this group of players. We might have a chance to get one.' "

Yzerman wouldn't mind staying at 27, either.

"To trade up just to trade up doesn't make sense," he said. "They're just 18-year-old kids. It's all speculative. But if it's someone we really like and we think we have a chance, we'll move up."

POSTURING OR PESSIMISM: The agent for Lightning forward Sean Bergenheim certainly made it sound as if his client, one of the best stories of the postseason, is on his way to becoming an unrestricted free agent.

Todd Diamond said Friday the sides have "right now agreed to disagree" on a new contract.

Asked if he believed a deal could get done before July 1, when Bergenheim can hit the open market, Diamond said, "It's not going to be easy, but stranger things can happen."

Bergenheim, 27, who made $700,000 this season, had 14 goals and 29 points in 80 games but exploded for nine goals and 11 points in 16 games in the playoffs.

"There's no negativity," Diamond said of the negotiations, "other than putting together a financial package everyone is happy with."

NO-SHOW: There is a good chance Yzerman will be named NHL executive of the year at Wednesday's NHL awards show in Las Vegas. But Yzerman, up against Vancouver's Mike Gillis and Nashville's David Poile, said he will not attend.

"I've just got too much to do," Yzerman said. "I've got a (Board of Governors) meeting Tuesday in New York. … To spend a day and a half to fly out (to Las Vegas) and fly back, it's just not a good use of my time."

TO-DO LIST: One thing Yzerman wants to do is get star C Steven Stamkos signed before July 1, when he can become a restricted free agent. Tampa Bay would have the right to match any outside offers, but Yzerman doesn't want another team setting the parameters. "We're definitely still talking and will continue to talk and continue working toward a deal," Yzerman said.

ODDS AND ENDS: Brett Connolly, last summer's top Lightning draft choice and No. 6 overall, was invited to Canada's national junior team summer development camp. … The Lightning added former Mercyhurst College assistant coach John Rosso as an amateur scout.

Around the league

Wild: Minnesota decided it needs a younger team and hired 37-year-old Mike Yeo to lead the overhaul. Yeo spent this season in charge of Minnesota's top farm club in Houston and led the Aeros to the AHL final, where it lost to Binghamton. This is his first NHL head coaching job.

Stars: Dallas announced Glen Gulutzan, 39, as coach. He spent the past two years coaching AHL Texas, taking it to the league final as an expansion team in 2010 and back to the playoffs this season. This is his first NHL head coaching job.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Tampa Bay Lightning open to trading up from No. 27 draft position 06/17/11 [Last modified: Friday, June 17, 2011 9:39pm]
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