Advertisement
  1. Lightning

Expect a Lightning side deal to protect Slater Koekkoek, Jake Dotchin

Tampa Bay may have a plan to keep Slater Koekkoek, above, and fellow defenseman Jake Dotchin from expansion Vegas.
Tampa Bay may have a plan to keep Slater Koekkoek, above, and fellow defenseman Jake Dotchin from expansion Vegas.
Published Jun. 21, 2017

TAMPA — Vegas general manager George McPhee said he has side deals with at least six other NHL teams leading up to tonight's expansion draft.

Lightning GM Steve Yzerman wouldn't confirm or deny if Tampa Bay is involved in one of them. "It's not something I'd share publicly at this time," Yzerman said.

But the Lightning is expected to have a deal with the Golden Knights to ensure they stay away from one, if not both, D Slater Koekkoek and D Jake Dotchin, according to league sources. Koekkoek and Dotchin were left unprotected for the expansion draft. Tampa Bay is guaranteed to lose one player.

It makes sense for Tampa Bay to try to keep Koekkoek and Dotchin. Dotchin, 23, helped solidify the blueline's top-four in the second half of last season. Koekkoek, 23, the 10th overall pick in 2012, has played in 41 career NHL games, finishing last season with AHL Syracuse. Both are restricted free agents.

The three Lightning defensemen who were protected are Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman and Braydon Coburn. The protected forwards are Steven Stamkos, Ryan Callahan, Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn and Vladislav Namestnikov.

In a potential side deal with Vegas, the Lightning could use one of its promising forward prospects, or package a draft pick (Tampa Bay has two second rounders in this weekend's draft, where it picks No. 14 overall). Or a trade could involve the Lightning ensuring Vegas takes another defenseman, like Jason Garrison ($4.6 million cap hit next season) or Andrej Sustr. The most notable Lightning forwards the Golden Knights can choose from are J.T. Brown and Yanni Gourde (an unrestricted free agent).

Hedman up for Norris

It's already been an exciting summer for Hedman, who won a gold medal with Sweden at last month's World Championships.

Tonight, he is in Las Vegas for the NHL awards, a finalist for the Norris Trophy given to the league's top defenseman. Ottawa's Erik Karlsson and San Jose's Brent Burns are the favorites.

"It's obviously a tremendous honor for me," Hedman told the Tampa Bay Times. "To be there with Erik, too, playing with him when we're under 15, under-16 national teams. Kind of growing up together on that stage. And then playing in NHL and getting nominated together for the Norris, it's a good feeling."

Hedman had mixed feelings over last week's trade of Jonathan Drouin to Montreal. Hedman was bummed to lose Drouin, but excited to see what he labels a "grade-A" prospect in D Mikhail Sergachev.

"I was kind of shocked to see it at first," Hedman said of the trade. "It's a tough business. You see so many guys go. We believe in the plan we've got for our team. With the expansion draft and us being close to the cap, it's a tough business. Dru is going to have a tremendous career in the NHL."

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Forward Nikita Kucherov (86) suffered a right leg injury Saturday in the Tampa Bay Lightning's 5-2 loss to Washington. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Tampa Bay hasn’t played without Kucherov for more than two consecutive games since 2016.
  2. Tampa Bay Lightning trainer Tom Mulligan attends to right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) who was injured during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. Lightning right wing Mathieu Joseph (7), center Brayden Point (21) and defenseman Erik Cernak (81) look on. [CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP]
    Last year’s NHL MVP was injured blocking a shot early in the Lightning’s 5-2 loss Saturday
  3. Lightning coach Jon Cooper, left, said Andrei Vasilevskiy will start in goal for the Lightning Saturday night against Washington at Amalie Arena. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
    Braydon Coburn returned to the ice, but there’s no update on Tyler Johnson
  4. Twenty years after making his debut as an NHL coach with the Lightning, Steve Ludzik is in dire need of a liver transplant. After a Facebook post by his wife MaryAnn earlier this week, a flood of potential donors have come forward. A handful have been identified as possible matches, but more are still being sought. Call (416) 340-5400 for more information. [Times files]
    Once diagnosed with Parkinson’s during his brief tenure as Lightning coach from 1999-01, Steve Ludzik is now in the fight of his life.
  5. Andrei Vasilevskiy was back to his usual acrobatic maneuvers while stopping 27 of 29 shots Thursday night, including this second period save on Boston Bruins center Joakim Nordstrom (20) with Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak (81) helping. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes]
    John Romano | Tampa Bay’s early-season struggles were matched by the goaltender, whose numbers were not as dominant as last season. In recent games, that seems to have changed.
  6. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) beats Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (40) during the second period of the game on Thursday, December 12, 2019, between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins at Amalie Arena in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes]
    The captain has a four-game goal streak and is one of the league’s hottest players this month.
  7. Bruins play-by-play broadcaster shared some thoughts during Thursday's game against the Lightning. [DIANA NEARHOS  |  TIMES]
    Three questions with Jack Edwards, the Boston Bruins’ legendary play-by-play broadcaster.
  8. The Lightning took on the Bruins at home on Thursday.
  9. Fans gather in Thunder Alley at Amalie Arena before the start of the 2019-2020 NHL season home opener between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers on Thursday, October 3, 2019, in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Bring a new, unwrapped toy to either (or both!) of the next two games
  10. Boston's David Pastrnak, left, and Washington's Alex Ovechkin were the NHL's top two goal-scorers through Tuesday's games. Both are coming to Tampa this week to face the Lightning at Amalie Arena.
    The Lightning face the NHL’s top two teams Thursday and Saturday
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement