The “Summer of Stevie” continues to churn along in Tampa Bay. After obtaining Simon Gagne from the Philadelphia Flyers, speculation in Tampa Bay has turned towards another important player from Philadelphia’s run to the Stanley Cup finals last year in rugged forward Arron Asham.
The team, apparently, has inquired about free agent Arron Asham. Agent Jarrett Bousquet said he has spoken to Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman, though he added he hasn’t spoken to Yzerman in about a week and characterized Tampa Bay’s interest only as “mild.”
The level of the Lightning’s interest is difficult to pinpoint. The team, under Yzerman, has adopted a policy of not commenting on potential player acquisitions, and Yzerman has been busy the past week or so with the acquisition of Simon Gagne in trade from the Flyers and the signing of two assistant coaches. A third assistant, by the way, is expected to be signed by the end of the week.
Acquiring Asham in Tampa would make sense especially after both Yzerman and Guy Boucher were quoted saying that team toughness is needed and not necessarily from just one player that makes it his job doing so. Asham is a guy that showed some ability to both play well on a line with skilled guys as well as stepping up to protect them when called for.
After the team lost noted pugilist Zenon Konopka to the Islanders in free agency, they’re basically left with Nate Thompson as the only real enforcer on the team. Adding more intensity with Asham would do the Lightning some good and save some younger players like Steven Stamkos and Teddy Purcell some trouble with bullies.