Lightning looking for help as trade deadline approaches

By Ken Filler
Feb. 22, 2018

As the trade deadline approaches, the Lightning have a few needs on the team and if Yzerman can pull the right strings, these moves could mean another Stanley Cup appearance for the Lightning. Of course as with anything there are no guarantee.

The Lightning need another top six defensemen to round out the group. Tonight the Lightning will be in Ottawa to play the Senators and Erik Karlsson‘s name has been talked about as a possible fit fo the Lightning. Karlsson and Victor Hedman are good friends and have played together numerous times for Team Sweden in the Olympics and international tournaments.

Karlsson in one of the best defenseman in the world and would not come cheap for the Lightning. Yzerman was correct when he said that you always end up overpaying for talent at the trade deadline. Ottawa would want some of the young talent that the Lightning has assembled and I don’t think Yzerman would be willing to give them up for a short term rental.

Although Karlsson’s contract is not up until 2019, he will demand top dollar and will become the highest paid defensmen of all time in the NHL. He has already stated should he stay with Ottawa, there will be no hometown discount. The Lightning also have Nikita Kucherov to take care of down the road with a contract and he will also demand top dollar. I don’t think the Lightning would pay both players the kind of money they will demand.

A better fit on the blue line might be Mike Green of Detroit. He is another player that has been linked to the Lightning over the last couple of weeks. Green is 33, and his best hockey is probably behind him, but he would bring a lot of leadership and playoff experience to the locker room. In 56 games this season Green has 6G and 23A. Green would come a lot cheaper than Hedman. He is under contract for two more seasons at 6 million per.

The Lightning should also look to pick up another top 6 forward to add to the group. Especially one that can win a face-off in crunch time. Antoine Vermette of the Ducks is a name that has been tossed around in trade talks. Vermette has good speed and is not afraid to mix it up. Although small at 6-1 185, he can and will play a physical game when needed. Vermette is 60% on face-offs and no one on the Lightning is even close to that.

I think Vermette would be a good pick-up for the Lightning just for his play on face-offs. Winning face-offs and maintaining puck possession is so important in the playoffs.

—The Lightning picked up Gabriel Dumont off waivers from Ottawa. Dumont was lost to the Senators earlier in the season after he did not clear waivers. With Dumont on the roster, the Lightning assigned Matt Peca to Syracuse.

—The Lightning have three games coming up in the division and all three are against Canadian teams. The Lightning will be in Ottawa tonight and Montreal on Saturday, before coming back home to play Toronto on Monday night.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports