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January 23, 2017 | 3:11pm ET
Bolts focused on lateral moves

The Tampa Bay Lightning understands injuries this season has resulted in a very troubling record, and while the team won't make excuses, their focus could shift in the coming weeks.

The Bolts current sit last in the Eastern Conference, a far cry from competition for the Atlantic Division lead, an expectation they had coming into the season.

With only one skater set to become an unrestricted free agent in July -- Brian Boyle -- the Lightning is not in a position to sell off some of its assets, nor does that appear to be the club's mindset, anyway.

Lightning GM Steve Yzerman is, however, expected to entertain inquiries on goaltender Ben Bishop, a pending unrestricted free agent.

Bishop was almost traded to the St. Louis Blues last season, sources told TFP at the time, and almost became a member of the Calgary Flames prior to the NHL Draft last June, which TFP reported, but failed to reach a contract extension with the Flames, and that deal also fell through.

With Andrei Vasilevskiy, 22, expected to carry the load as the club's future No.1 goaltender, despite this season's recent struggles, Bishop is not expected to be back with the Bolts next season and trading him prior to the March 1 trade deadline appears to be a realistic option.

The Bolts have been trying to bolster their defensive corps for the past few seasons and could focus on strengthening that part of the team in the coming weeks.


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