NHL Trade Rumors: Strengthening The Lightning Defense


As NHL Trade Rumors begin to circulate, the Tampa Bay Lightning may be looking to strengthen their defensive core heading into the March 2nd National Hockey League trade deadline.

The Tampa Bay Lightning seems to have had defensive issues as long as most modern fans can remember. Thankfully, this season the Lightning looked as if they had finally gotten this issue under control; however, the cracks are starting to show once again.

This means that there is a good possibility that Tampa Bay Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman may be looking to shake things up a little bit as we get closer to the deadline and strengthen the Lightning’s defensive core.

Don’t get us wrong, the addition of veteran defensemen like Jason Garrison, who the Lightning picked up from the Vancouver Canucks, and Anton Stralman, who the Bolts picked up from the New York Rangers, have been a tremendous improvement this season, but with injuries looming over the Bolts once again, there are some holes that need filling.

As most of you know by now, Lightning defenseman Radko Gudas will miss the remainder of the regular season and a good portion of the post season with a knee injury. Also, back in January it was announced that Lightning defenseman Matt Carle would miss 6-8 weeks with a torn abductor muscle.

Like we said before…there are plenty of holes to fill. The good news is that there are plenty of available defensemen in the National Hockey League that are ripe for the picking. Here’s a look at a few that we here at Bolts By The Bay have our eyes on.

The first defenseman that we would take a look at is defenseman Keith Yandle from the Arizona Coyotes. Now, before you bring up Yandle’s minus-28 rating, he is still ranked 11th among the NHL defenseman in terms of points and third in terms of assists.

The 28 year old Boston native has four goals and thirty six assists so far this season for a total of forty points.

An offensive defenseman like Yandle could be very beneficial to the Lightning, the only problem is that he won’t exactly come with a discounted price tag. The Bolts could move someone like Brett Connolly and/or J.T. Brown.

This, with a little moving and shaking, could open up a position for someone like Vladislav Namestnikov to make the jump back to the main roster. Considering that Vladdy was just recognized as the CCM/AHL Player of the Week, he would be a reasonable asset to the main roster.

Another defenseman who would make a tremendous addition to the Lightning roster is Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green.

The biggest issue with Green is that he comes with a lofty price tag that would require a lot of moving and shaking to make room for. Acquiring Green from the Capitals would require a $6 million cap hit for the remainder of the season and a substantial trade to the Caps.

Green has really stepped up on the Power Play, which is something that the Lightning has been struggling with as of late, and much like Yandle is an offensive kind of defenseman. So far this season, Green has 5 goals and 31 assists for a total of 36 points.

This places Green in 16th place in the NHL among defensemen in points. Granted, he is not as high on the list as Yandle, but with his Power Play production he may very well be the piece of the puzzle that the Lightning seem to be missing.

There are plenty of options out there that are ripe for the picking. Unfortunately, the only person who truly knows what the Lightning will be looking for as the deadline approaches is Steve Yzerman.

As we have mentioned before, the Yzer-plan has done great things for the Tampa Bay Lightning so far this season, so there is no reason to doubt that he will make the right move before the deadline expires. The only question now is which one is truly right for the team?

Which player do you think the Tampa Bay Lightning should be looking at as the NHL Trade Deadline approaches? Do you think we should be shopping in the defensive aisle or are there other areas of need that require attention? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Next: Tyler Johnson Becomes Fastest to 50 Among Undrafted Players

More from Bolts by the Bay