Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune reports that, after the Lightning’s 4-0 home loss to Ottawa on Tuesday, the “winds of change” may soon be blowing through the Bolts’ locker room.
Tampa Bay is 1-3-1 over its last five games and mired in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, 10 points back of eighth-place Toronto. The Bolts have three games left on their current homestand and if they don’t emerge with three wins, GM Steve Yzerman could start moving assets.
“We are aware of [the trade deadline] and we know this home stand makes the job a lot easier or harder for management if we put ourselves in a position,” center Steven Stamkos said. “We obviously like the group that is in this room and we’d like to win with this group.
“And we realize that if things don’t go as planned, there are going to be some moves.”
So, who’s up for grabs? Sounds like Tampa’s five impending UFAs — Dominic Moore, Pavel Kubina, Brett Clark, Adam Hall and Matt Gilroy — are in the mix (especially Moore, who has twice been a trade deadline acquisition.)
Erlendsson also notes that Steve Downie and Ryan Malone could be in dealt, the latter being an especially hot commodity given his playoff experience (Malone’s participated in two of the last four Eastern Conference finals.)
That said, Malone’s trying not to focus on the trade talks.
“We are just trying to win hockey games,” said Malone. “It’s been hard for me not to play in the previous games [missed last eight with an upper-body injury] because we know there are only 20-something games left and you are already looking at the standings and these already feel like playoff games.
“We know that we have to beat the teams in front of us … and we need a great home stand to get back into the hunt here.”
UPDATE: Per Damien Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times, defenseman Pavel Kubina will soon be on the move. He’s been asked to provide a list of teams to whom he would accept a trade and won’t play in the interim. Kubina has a limited no-trade clause; Yzerman wouldn’t say if a trade is imminent.