CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.
And GM Steve Yzerman said he has a better feel for what might be available via trade, with many defensemen expected to move at this weekend's amateur draft.
But Yzerman has another item on his summer wish list: a top-nine wing.
"We'd like to add one, for sure, at least one more, actually," he said. "We're going to try to get someone that could go in our top nine. Is that one of our kids coming up from the minors or junior? I'm not sure. But we'll look through trade or free agency to see if we can add one."
The Lightning lost a talented wing in Jonathan Drouin, who scored 21 goals last season but was dealt to Montreal for Sergachev last week. It also traded veteran forwards Brian Boyle and Valtteri Filppula at the March deadline. Yzerman said it doesn't matter if the acquired wing is left- or right-handed.
The Lightning has $23 million in salary cap space, but Yzerman doesn't appear willing to get in a bidding war in free agency (for either a defenseman or forward). "Aren't a lot of players out there," Yzerman said. "So the players that are there are probably going to get paid pretty well."
The most likely route for adding a defenseman — unless Yzerman wants to pay megadollars for potential unrestricted free agent Kevin Shattenkirk — is via trade. Vegas already started to flip some of its blue-line surplus Thursday, sending Trevor van Riemsdyk to Carolina and David Schlemko to Montreal. New Golden Knight Marc Methot, formerly with Ottawa, could still be available.
Minnesota GM Chuck Fletcher told the Minneapolis Star Tribune he could "absolutely" deal a defenseman this weekend; Marco Scandella, Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin have been rumored in trade talks. If Colorado is able to deal F Matt Duchene for a defenseman, D Tyson Barrie could be available.
"We've talked to some teams specifically that may be some type of fit in a trade," Yzerman said. "We've got an idea on that."
The Lightning announced Thursday its two-year extension with backup G Peter Budaj, a deal the Tampa Bay Times reported earlier this week. Budaj, 34, passed up becoming an unrestricted free agency July 1 to stay with Tampa Bay, getting a $1.025 million annual average salary. Budaj was impressed with the Lightning after being acquired at the trade deadline in the Ben Bishop deal with Los Angeles.
"I really liked the organization, liked the team," Budaj said Thursday. "I had a very good vibe there."
•Nothing new to report in talks between the Lightning and potential restricted free agents Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat, though negotiations with the forwards are expected to pick up after this weekend's draft.
•Yzerman said his intention is to talk contracts with D Andrej Sustr and D Luke Witkowski, but you wonder if Sustr is a non-tender candidate.
•Lightning fans will get their first up-close look at Sergachev at the development camp in Brandon from Tuesday-July 1).
Quote to note
"I don't know how I can get that high without doing something ludicrous."
GM Steve Yzerman, on the chance he'll trade into the top three of tonight's first round of the amateur draft
Joe Smith can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.