TAMPA — It would be difficult to find a more eclectic trio of deals than those the Lightning pulled off by Wednesday's trade deadline.
There was a straight-up hockey trade, a good one, too, as Tampa Bay acquired from the Bruins defenseman Matt Lashoff and right wing Martins Karsums for Mark Recchi and a 2010 second-round draft choice.
But there also was a classic salary dump that sent defenseman Steve Eminger to the Panthers for unproven blue-liner Noah Welch and a 2009 third-round pick, and a final transaction the league scrutinized, deputy commissioner Bill Daly said, to ensure it involved "legitimate hockey assets."
That was because each player Tampa Bay sent to the Maple Leafs — goalie Olie Kolzig (elbow), defenseman Jamie Heward (concussion) and minor-league defenseman Andy Rogers (back) — is injured.
But Toronto so badly wanted the 2009 fourth-round pick it acquired in the deal, it was willing to take what remained of those salariesx and send to the Lightning rugged minor-league defenseman Richard Petiot, who was assigned to AHL Norfolk.
"We were consulted on the proposed trade in advance and gave it careful consideration, and determined it was permissible under the (collective bargaining agreement)," Daly wrote in an e-mail.
"I'm pretty pleased with what we accomplished (Wednesday)," general manager Brian Lawton said. "We tried to get younger. We tried to address our (defense). We're trying to add some draft picks and do a bit of cap management."
In other words, the moves are for the future, and the money saved helps set up what the team might do in the summer. The consequence is the season's final weeks will be, shall we say, challenging.
Consider the defense already is without injured Paul Ranger, Andrej Meszaros and Marek Malik, and counting on hobbled rookie Matt Smaby and converted left wing David Koci. Now comes Welch, a healthy scratch in 36 games this season who is averaging 6:38 of ice time.
Lashoff, the 22nd overall pick of the 2005 draft, would help, but because of a calf wound, he is not expected to join the roster for 10 days, Lawton said.
Even Lawton agreed, "It's unprecedented tough times here."
Losing Recchi's offense is a blow, too. But Lawton said acquiring the 6-foot-2, 204-pound Lashoff, 22, is huge because he is projected as a top-four blue-liner, and Karsums, 23, could be a top-six forward.
Still, neither has played more than a handful of NHL games, toiling mostly for AHL Providence.
Welch, 26, also is a work in progress, but with a $750,000 salary in the final year of his contract, he will be a lot cheaper to sign than Eminger, who played top-four minutes and is set to at least double this season's $1.2 million compensation.
"There was no hometown discount," Lawton said of the effort to extend Eminger's contract."
Lawton said trading Eminger was "a tough one," but added, "as we looked forward … we simply cannot afford what he could get in arbitration. People don't want to hear that, but in today's world, that is a reality."
Other realities: Left wing Gary Roberts, 42, cleared waivers and will stay with Tampa Bay. And Recchi, 41, said a chance to play for a third Stanley Cup is "remarkable. … Boston has been pretty successful with its sports teams. Now it's the Bruins' time."
As for the Lightning, Recchi said, "There's going to have to be some patience. It's going to be interesting to see how the summer plays out. For (owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie), this has been a good learning experience. I think they have good intentions to do good things there. I think they will."
Damian Cristodero can be reached at email@example.com.