Moving forward from the Gagne Trade
In the aftermath of yesterday's trade for Simon Gagne, what is next for the Tampa Bay Lightning? Obviously, filling out the bottom six has now become the last whole left before Steve Yzerman closes up shop for the summer, but what is the best route to do that? And how does the Gagne deal play into any potential moves Yzerman makes going forward? First, I am of the opinion that if Gagne works out here, finds chemistry on Lecavalier's line, and stays healthy, it would behoove the team to try to re-sign him. I also believe that is the goal of both the team and the player, even though it may not be talked about right now so much. Not inside information, just a general gut feeling that I have. What I am about to suggest may anger some, but it makes sense, in my head. What if there was a deal to be made for Ryan Malone?
First, I understand what Malone brings to the table, and I understand how hard it is to fine players that bring what he brings to the table. I get that. I also understand what a strong player he is off the ice, and how well he is respected in the room. I am not even sure that I agree with this idea, I just think it makes some sense. I have heard rumblings that there is at least one team out west that may have Malone on the radar, and if any deal could fill out the bottom six, and potentially get out from under a huge contract, shouldn't Yzerman at least listen?
Patience is a virtue
Steve Yzerman was announced as General Manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning on May 25th. The ink on his contract was barely dry before the piling on began from the "traditional" hockey markets. At the time, I stressed patience to anyone and everyone who would listen. This article in particular is one that is really bothersome to me. Take this part, for example:
I think he's got his work cut out for him, and that this team -- even if Lecavalier stays -- has miles to go before it can contend for anything. He needs a goaltender, he needs a better defense core to help Hedman become a dominant top pairing player, and he can't really keep all of his big stars up front given their timeline and needs elsewhere.
Its amazing how things change in 6 weeks, isn't it? Yzerman has committed to Lecavalier staying. He has signed Dan Ellis. He has signed Pavel Kubina and Brett Clarke. And not only has he kept all of his big stars, he has added to them while getting out from under some very bad contracts.
My point is this. While it is very easy to jump on a team for its past transgressions it is downright silly to rule them out of anything or say it will take years for them to do anything before their management team even has a chance to make their first move. Is this a playoff team? Who knows, but they are nowhere near the "ground zero" that some suggest they are. Of course hindsight is 20/20, but I am never a fan of seeing things taken to that big an extreme.