February 10, 2018 | 9:19Am ET
LIGHTNING EXPLORING OPTIONS ON BLUELINE
Steve Yzerman, GM
Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman and his staff have been scouring the trade market looking for quality assets to add by the Feb. 26 trade deadline.
While the team has been linked to various available forwards, like Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane and New York Rangers sniper Rick Nash, the club is also weighing its options on defence.
According to multiple rival team sources, the Bolts have been keeping tabs on Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh, Edmonton Oilers blueliner Oscar Klefbom, and Detroit Red Wings defenceman Mike Green, among others.
Klefbom, who has five-years left on his contract, is the latest rearguard to be considered available, as TFP first reported on Friday. The Oilers are not actively shopping Klefbom, but they aren’t shying away from inquiries, either. If the right deal presented itself, presumably for a top-line winger, the Oilers would bite.
McDonagh is signed for one more season, while Green can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
Yzerman seems to be all-in, as he and the organization believe they have a great shot at competing for the Stanley Cup again this season. The club made it to the Cup Final in 2015, losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.
Last season, the Bolts had entertained trade calls on forward Tyler Johnson, and were reportedly close to dealing him prior to the trade deadline. With the emergence of Brayden Point as the club’s second line centre this season, it’s possible the Bolts dangle Johnson as trade bait. However, Johnson’s been playing on the club’s top line on the right side and Yzerman may prefer to keep him there.
It’s unclear if the Lightning is interested in giving away its first-round draft pick or any of its top prospects, including forward Brett Howden, who has attracted some interest from around the League, but if Yzerman is willing to go for it, he could be persuaded if the right deal presented itself.