Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Time will judge Lightning trade inaction

The reunited Triplets line — from left, Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov — has helped boost team confidence.

Associated Press

The reunited Triplets line — from left, Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov — has helped boost team confidence.

TAMPA

The defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, which beat the Lightning in the final, made a few moves before Monday's trade deadline, including acquiring forward Andrew Ladd.

The Panthers, whom Tampa Bay is battling for first place in the Atlantic Division, added several players, including former Lightning wing Teddy Purcell.

The Rangers snatched Hurricanes captain Eric Staal.

But the Lightning, which may be in its final months with captain Steven Stamkos, did nothing.

Was it a mistake? Not necessarily. First, it's not like general manager Steve Yzerman didn't try to improve his club. He wanted to address the power play but said that type of impact player wasn't available. With limited salary cap space, he didn't have much to work with, nor did he find teams interested in taking on contracts with term, Yzerman said.

Then there's this: The Lightning, which came within two wins of hoisting the Cup in June, is one of the hottest teams in hockey. It is on a franchise-record nine-game winning streak, its first such streak since winning eight straight during its 2004 Cup run. It is 21-6-0 since the start of 2016 and entered Saturday just two points off the pace of last season's club-record-setting season.

"I feel like our team probably has that swagger back that we had last year," veteran defenseman Matt Carle said. "So it's good timing, and obviously management is confident in our groups (because it didn't do) anything over the trade deadline. We're a confident group. We know what we're capable of."

Yzerman's biggest trade chip was suspended wing Jonathan Drouin, who requested a trade in November and since January has refused to play until he gets one. But Yzerman was going to trade the No. 3 overall draft pick in 2013 only if he could get something that would help his team now and for the playoffs. And Yzerman said most of his talks with the interested teams — believed to number 10 to 15 — revolved around future considerations (draft picks, prospects), and he could likely get those if he deals Drouin before the June draft.

Yzerman said he had opportunities to make a move at the deadline but "you've got to pay a lot." Apparently, the price wasn't right. We'll know by June if Yzerman was right.

"Last year we made a bunch of deals, and you're worried, 'Boy, I hope this works out,' " Yzerman said. "And now you don't do anything and hope it works out. So we'll see."

DROUIN UPDATE: Though Yzerman said the door is open for Drouin to return, he was referring to AHL Syracuse, not the Lightning. A reunion with the latter appears highly unlikely. Yzerman even said he's not expecting Drouin to want to return to the AHL. ESPN reporter Pierre LeBrun made an interesting comment on a Toronto radio station last week: "My phone lit up on trade deadline day after Drouin wasn't traded with hockey execs around the league who applauded Yzerman. At end of day, every other team is saying, 'We don't want a 20-year-old coming on our team and dictating terms, either, ' "

NUTS AND BOLTS: The Lightning has an NHL-most 10 players on initial rosters for September's World Cup, and you'd have to think it might get more, with center Tyler Johnson and maybe wing Ryan Callahan drawing consideration for the United States. … Can't argue with the success of the Lightning's players-only meetings this season. The team won 10 of 11 after a self-critique film session (set up by coaches) Jan. 5 and then won seven in a row after a postgame meeting following a Feb. 18 shootout win over the Jets.

Time will judge Lightning trade inaction 03/05/16 [Last modified: Sunday, March 6, 2016 12:19am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rowdies settle for draw at home

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  2. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  3. Rays journal: Cesar Puello, who has one major-league game, claimed off waivers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Looking to add punch to their right-handed lineup, the Rays claimed OF Cesar Puello off waivers Saturday from the Angels.

  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Mariners game

    The Heater

    SS Adeiny Hechavarria doesn't always look like he's going hard, but he showed impressive reactions Saturday in reversing field to catch a ball that clanked off the catwalk then firing to second to double up Guillermo Heredia on an attempt to tag up.

  5. Bucs journal: Simeon Rice gives master class on sacks to defensive ends

    Bucs

    TAMPA — As the Bucs seek their first 10-sack season from a player since Simeon Rice in 2005, who better to help that cause than Rice himself?

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Simeon Rice works with defensive end Noah Spence (57) after practice at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017.