Report: Lightning have side deal in place with Vegas

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The Tampa Bay Lightning may have a deal in place to protect their young defenseman from Vegas in the expansion draft.

That’s what Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times is hearing anyway.

The Bolts left a couple of d-men, Slater Koekkoek and Jake Dotchin, exposed. They protected Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman, and Braydon Coburn, plus seven forwards and a goalie.

Koekkoek was the 10th overall pick in the 2010 draft. Now 23, he has yet to make a big impact in the NHL; however, he did play 29 games for the Lightning this past season.

Dotchin, also 23, was a pleasant surprise in 2016-17. The rookie ended up playing 35 games, drawing praise from head coach Jon Cooper.