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)

Yzerman's public rejection of Stamkos trade a smart move

Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman is juggling two high-profile player situations. Steven Stamkos is in the last year of his contract, and young wing Jonathan Drouin has asked for a trade. (DIRK SHADD   |   Times)

Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman is juggling two high-profile player situations. Steven Stamkos is in the last year of his contract, and young wing Jonathan Drouin has asked for a trade. (DIRK SHADD | Times)

PITTSBURGH

General manager Steve Yzerman rarely rules anything out.

It's just not his style.

That's why his Monday statement that he won't be trading captain Steven Stamkos at the Feb. 29 deadline was a bit surprising. What if the Lightning drops further out of playoff contention and Yzerman is wowed with an offer he can't refuse?

It doesn't matter. Yzerman isn't in control of this situation. Stamkos, who has a full no-move clause, holds all the cards, and he doesn't appear interested in going anywhere at the deadline. On July 1, when he could become a free agent? That could be a different story.

But Yzerman made the smart move, taking the pressure off Stamkos and his team by removing the distraction of people asking whether Stamkos would get moved at the deadline. The Lightning has enough problems as it is, fighting for its playoff life.

If the team wants to make any kind of run at the Stanley Cup, it's much better off with Stamkos than without. Stamkos has not even been approached about waiving his no-move clause, and Yzerman is saying he still hopes he can sign the All-Star to a long-term deal.

And though it's a risk that the team could lose Stamkos for nothing on July 1 if he walks away — which is a possibility — Yzerman had no choice but to buy him, and his team, more time and go for the Cup.

DROUIN TALK: Some Lightning fans seemed intrigued when Canada's TSN TV network reported last week that teammates would welcome back suspended wing Jonathan Drouin. The report said players wished they could have spoken to Drouin this month while in Montreal, where Tampa Bay was playing and Drouin was working out, and coaxed him into returning.

Drouin, who requested a trade in November, has been suspended since Jan. 20 for refusing to play for AHL Syracuse while he awaits a deal.

That teammates still support Drouin is not a surprise. They've praised him as a good kid and teammate ever since his trade request became public in January. Several veterans have reached out to Drouin, including Stamkos and forward Brian Boyle.

But let's get one thing straight: Don't expect Drouin to come back to the Lightning, even if he's not traded by the deadline. That ship has sailed.

Stamkos said he has kept in touch with Drouin, but he hasn't tried to convince him to come back.

"That's obviously a tough situation," Stamkos said. "Guys obviously respect him as a teammate, and he never let any of that stuff creep into the (locker) room. We have to let (Yzerman) do his job in that regard and see what happens."

NUTS AND BOLTS: It's hard not to notice how good Stamkos has looked the past week after moving back to center, with his line with left wing Alex Killorn and Ryan Callahan clicking. Wonder how long Stamkos will stay in the middle, his preferred spot? … The biggest person affected by the absence of injured defenseman Jason Garrison is his longtime partner, Andrej Sustr. The two had worked so well together. … Right wing Jonathan Marchessault is playing like he wants to stay in the lineup, and maybe he should. … With every game, right wing Nikita Kucherov — tied for the team lead with 24 goals — only increases his value. That's great timing. He can be a restricted free agent this summer.

QUOTE TO NOTE: NHL Network analyst Craig Button's take on the Lightning: "When I watch the Tampa Bay Lightning, I see some really good (things), and I see some gaps of really porous play, not only defensively but offensively, where they make a mistake and fall out of their game, fall out of their rhythm."

Contact Joe Smith at joesmith@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

Yzerman's public rejection of Stamkos trade a smart move 02/20/16 [Last modified: Saturday, February 20, 2016 11:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. USF defense feeds on Temple offense to take NCAA interceptions lead

    College

    TAMPA — Backed up in his end zone, Temple quarterback Logan Marchi scrambled, trying to elude a USF defensive end coming straight for him. Until then, Marchi hadn't had much luck hitting his receivers.

    South Florida Bulls safety Devin Abraham (20) sacks Temple Owls quarterback Logan Marchi (12) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, September 21, 2017.
  2. No. 21 USF Bulls roll over Temple to stay undefeated

    College

    TAMPA — They emerged from Raymond James Stadium's southwest tunnel on the 11-month anniversary of their public humilation at Temple.

    Bulls tailback Darius Tice, who rushes for 117 yards, is elated by his 47-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.
  3. Fennelly: USF thrashes Temple to stay unbeaten; too bad not many saw it in person

    College

    No. 21 USF ran its record to 4-0 Thursday night with some payback against Temple, a 43-7 trouncing, no contest, as if anyone cares, at least judging by the paltry announced crowd of 24,325 at Raymond James Stadium.

    Where was everybody?

    Bulls cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) celebrates with teammates after making a defensive play during the first half.
  4. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Thursday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    The Rays still talk about having a shot to make the playoffs. But recognizing and correcting mistakes will help them next year, such as Mallex Smith trying to steal third in the first. "Those are the little things we've got to find how to eliminate real quick," manager Kevin Cash said.