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Lightning Strikes! podcast: Trade deadline breakdown

Will Valtteri Filppula be moved?

DIRK SHADD | Times

Will Valtteri Filppula be moved?

Listen to our trade deadline breakdown with Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones. We discuss the Ben Bishop and Brian Boyle trades, and what other moves the Lightning may/should make. Is Jonathan Drouin untouchable? Will Valtteri Filppula be moved? How comfortable should you feel about Andrei Vasilevskiy as the new No. 1 goaltender?

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Trade deadline mailbag: Is Lightning done with deals?

Valtteri Filppula, 32, has been shopped for a while, but has a partial no-move list, a group of 16 teams he can be moved to.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

Valtteri Filppula, 32, has been shopped for a while, but has a partial no-move list, a group of 16 teams he can be moved to.

Much has been made about what the Lightning has already lost.

Gone is two-time Vezina Trophy finalist goalie Ben Bishop, dealt to L.A.

Gone is versatile veteran center Brian Boyle, traded to division rival Toronto Monday.

And it doesn't sound like Tampa Bay is done dealing leading up to Wednesday's 3 p.m. deadline. Expect GM Steve Yzerman to continue working, with an eye on potentiallly clearing some cap space for this summer, when Jonathan Drouin, Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat are all restricted free agents. Defenseman Victor Hedman's new extension kicks in next season. And the Lightning is still trying to add a top-four defenseman.

"There are long-term objectives that need to be addressed,'' Yzerman said. "If they can be done now, they will be done now.'' …

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Brian Boyle traded to Toronto

Brian Boyle, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, is a versatile veteran who can help many teams in a playoff push.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

Brian Boyle, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, is a versatile veteran who can help many teams in a playoff push.

Brian Boyle took his routine pre-game nap Monday afternoon preparing to play for the Lightning against the Senators.

When Boyle, 32, woke up, he found out he was on the move, traded to Toronto for a second round pick and forward prospect Byron Froese. In a couple hours, Boyle moved up in the standings with the Leafs hoping he can help their young team in a playoff run.

"It's definitely a different feeling," Boyle said. "I'm going to miss my buddies, we've  had two pretty good runs  in Tampa. From that standpoint, it's going to be tough to say goodbye. I'm  a loyal guy, I believed in our group. Obviously we didn't get it done. Not where we want to be this year."

The fact Boyle could be on the move is not a surprise. Boyle, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, is a versatile veteran who can help many teams in a playoff push. The young Leafs would be a perfect fit. The Oilers and Blue Jackets have also been interested. But the fact both goalie Ben Bishop and Boyle, two established veterans and leaders, are leaving is tough for him to watch. …

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Ben Bishop had 'strong feeling' deal was coming

Ben Bishop was the best goalie in Lightning history, leading the Lightning to back-to-back lengthy playoff runs.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Ben Bishop was the best goalie in Lightning history, leading the Lightning to back-to-back lengthy playoff runs.

Goalie Ben Bishop had a 'strong feeling' he was going to get traded by Wednesday's deadline.

The writing had been on the wall since Bishop was nearly dealt to the Flames at the June NHL Draft. Still, it wasn't easy for the two-time Vezina Trophy finalist to find out Sunday he was traded to the Kings.

"You can prepare yourself as much as you want, but when it happens, there's definitely a little bit of shock," Bishop told the Times by phone Monday. "Having been in Tampa the last four years, it's hard to pack up and leave in two hours. That's part of the business."

Bishop said he actually was sick Sunday morning, when his absence from practice fueled trade speculation. After getting the call from GM Steve Yzerman at 6 p.m., he rushed to the airport and fly to Minnesota, where he backed up Jonathan Quick in Monday's game against the Wild. His fiance, Andrea, stayed behind in Tampa, the couple getting married in Florida in July.

"It's been a whirlwind," Bishop said. "It wasn't a complete surprise. We've been preparing ourselves. We're both excited to change coasts." …

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Yzerman says Bishop deal to Kings his 'only option'

"He's as important a player as this franchise has ever had," Jon Cooper said of Ben Bishop, pictured.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

"He's as important a player as this franchise has ever had," Jon Cooper said of Ben Bishop, pictured.

Much has been made about the return the Lightning received for goaltender Ben Bishop in Sunday's surprise deal to the Kings.

GM Steve Yzerman stressed the importance of gaining cap space, which allows the bonuses for the likes of Jonathan Drouin, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Brayden Point to remain on this year's cap. He likes the defensive prospect in Erik Cernak, and feels veteran goaltender Peter Budaj can help Vasilevskiy lead the Lightning into the playoffs.

But Yzerman admits that if he was going to move Bishop, there wasn't much of a market for goaltenders.

"To be honest, it was the only option I had," Yzerman said.

Yzerman said he circled back to Kings GM Dean Lombardi two weeks ago to see if there was any interest in Bishop. With the Kings getting Vezina Trophy finalist Jonathan Quick back, Lombardi told Yzerman it depended on the price.They worked it out, with the Lightning retaining 20-percent of Bishop's salary.

Yzerman said the standings didn't really go into this thinking about the Bishop trade. …

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Stamkos joins team optional skate, could return this season

Captain Steven Stamkos joined a handful of other players on the ice, his first time skating with teammates since mid-November knee surgery.

JOE SMITH | Times

Captain Steven Stamkos joined a handful of other players on the ice, his first time skating with teammates since mid-November knee surgery.

With all the focus on GM Steve Yzerman's press conference on the Ben Bishop trade, there was a significant development during the Lightning's optional skate.

Captain Steven Stamkos joined a handful of other players on the ice, his first time skating with teammates since mid-November knee surgery. He did 2-on-1 drills, took one-timers, looking comfortable skating.

GM Steve Yzerman said joining the team in non-contact drills was the next step in Stamkos' expected 4-6 month recovery. And Yzerman said Stamkos could return sometime this season. It's unknown when, with mid-March the four-month mark.

"Everything about his rehab is moving along very well," Yzerman said. "There's no complications. He feels good. It's about allowing the injury to heal and getting his conditioning back and all that takes time. I don't have an exact timetable.

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Lightning trades Ben Bishop to Kings

When goalie Ben Bishop missed Sunday's practice due to the flu, it sparked trade speculation around the hockey world.

"That set off a firestorm," agent Allain Roy said.

Bishop, 31, was indeed sick. But Bishop was also soon on the move, dealt to the Kings Sunday night for backup goalie Peter Budaj, defenseman prospect Erik Cernak and a seventh-round pick. Tampa Bay gets a conditional pick, up to a second rounder, depending on Bishop and the Kings' performance.

And so ends the era for Bishop, the best goalie in franchise history. GM Steve Yzerman said it was a difficult decision, with the timing influenced by salary cap issues this season and beyond. Tampa Bay retains 20-percent of Bishop's salary.

And Yzerman reiterated this is no way a sign they're giving up on making the playoffs. But it wouldn't be surprising to see more moves if the Lightning loses to Ottawa Monday. …

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Flu keeps Bishop out of practice, fuels trade rumors

G Ben Bishop missed Sunday’s practice, the latest victim to the flu bug that has made an appearance in Lightning dressing room.

F Jonathan Drouin missed Thursday’s game because of the flu.

With Wednesday’s trade deadline approaching the speculation on social media is that Bishop was held out of practice because of an impending trade. But GM Steve Yzerman, in a text to the Tampa Bay Times, and coach Jon Cooper said the goalie is under the weather.

That doesn’t mean Bishop, an unrestricted free agent after this season, won’t be moved by Wednesday’s 3 p.m. deadline.

Monday’s game against the visiting Senators is a big one, and not just because it will impact the Lightning’s playoff picture. It is the last game before the deadline, meaning it could be the last time this group skates together as a team.

A win and Yzerman could make a move that would add a player for a playoff push. A loss and Yzerman could make a move that sets up the Lightning for next season.

Brian Boyle, an unrestricted free agent whose name has popped up in trade rumors, said he believes in this team and would like to see it stay together for the remainder of the season.

  …

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Lightning acquire Fournier in minor trade

The Lightning made a minor trade Saturday, swapping minor leaguers when it acquired RW Stefan Fournier from Arizona for RW Jeremy Morin, who spent the season at Syracuse.

Fournier, 6-foot-3, 226 pounds, played in 29 games this season at AHL Tucson, scoring two goals and assisting on two others. Fournier, 24, has played in 139 AHL during his career.

 

Morin, who played in a combined 82 NHL games with the Black Hawks and Blue Jackets during parts of six seasons, signed a two-way contract last July with the Lightning. He played in 43 games this season for the Crunch.

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Drouin returns to practice Saturday

Jonathan Drouin returned to practice this morning as the Lightning had a double session of work.

The team worked on the power play and penalty kill during the first session.

The Lightning, which did not practice Friday, practices again Sunday in advance of Monday’s game against the visiting Senators.

The good news for the Lightning was the Senators and Panthers, two of the teams it is trying to catch in the standings, both lost Friday.

With 62 points, the Lightning is six points behind the Islanders for the second wild card spot and six points behind the Maple Leafs for the third spot in the Atlantic Division.

But the playoff picture will change somewhat before the Lightning play Monday with the Islanders, Maple Leafs, Sabres and Flyers in action today and the Bruins, Senators, Panthers and Sabres playing Sunday.

 

The Senators are at the Panthers on Sunday, meaning Monday’s game in Tampa Bay will be the Senators’ second in back-to-back days.

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Did the Lightning miss out on Kevin Shattenkirk?

TSN reports that Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk nixed a potential deal to the Lightning six weeks ago.

Getty Images

TSN reports that Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk nixed a potential deal to the Lightning six weeks ago.

The Lightning has been looking for a puck-moving, right-shot defenseman for a long time.

Tampa Bay and the St. Louis Blues have been scouting each other since last year's Jonathan Drouin sweepstakes. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman and Blues GM Doug Armstrong even watched Tampa Bay's game in L.A. together Jan. 17. They spoke again the next night in Anaheim.

So it shouldn't be a huge surprise that the two clubs were linked in an interesting report Thursday night that Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk nixed a potential deal to the Lightning six weeks ago. TSN's Bob McKenzie was first to report it, with Blues beat writer Jeremy Rutherford confirming that Shattenkirk turned down what would have been a seven-year, $42 million deal with Tampa Bay.

Shattenkirk, 28, a pending unrestricted free agent, doesn't have a no-trade clause. But Shattenkirk has leverage as if the Blues want to get anything of significance for him in return, he'd have to accept a long-term extension with another team. …

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Drouin a game-time decision, Vasilevskiy likely in net

Jonathan Drouin will be a game-time decision tonight, having missed Wednesday's practice.

AP photo

Jonathan Drouin will be a game-time decision tonight, having missed Wednesday's practice.

Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin has been battling the flu the past couple weeks, making what he's done on the ice all the more remarkable.

But coach Jon Cooper said Drouin will be a game-time decision tonight, having missed Wednesday's practice.

"We hope (he can play)," Cooper said.

With Drouin's status in doubt, forward Cory Conacher was recalled from AHL Syracuse for the second time in four days. Conacher skated this morning and is available. This is a big game for the Lightning, which is just four points out of the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. Tampa Bay has pointed in seven straight games, a season-high.

In net, it looks like Andrei Vasilevskiy will start. While Ben Bishop has won five straight starts, this is the Lightning's pattern to play Vasilevskiy so he doesn't go 10-11 days between games. Vasilevskiy last started Saturday in Dallas. This way, Bishop would start Monday against Atlantic Division rival Ottawa. And Vasilevskiy has played pretty well too, his 37-save performance in Minnesota before the bye a big reason why the Lightning pointed in that game. …

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Ryan Callahan out indefinitely after follow-up procedure

Ryan Callahan has played in just 18 games for the Lightning this season.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Ryan Callahan has played in just 18 games for the Lightning this season.

Ryan Callahan's season could be over.

The veteran Lightning wing had a follow-up surgical procedure on his right hip Tuesday in New York, with GM Steve Yzerman saying Callahan is expected to miss the rest of the regular season.

The good news is that doctors found out what had been causing discomfort in Callahan's hip since it was surgically-repaired in June. Yzerman said the labrum remains in tact, and it's more of a scar tissue issue.

So while this injury is season-threatening, it's not expected to be career-threatening. Callahan still has three more years left on his deal after this season. If Callahan returns this year will depend on how far the Lightning goes in the playoffs, if it makes it.

"All in all, it's encouraging," Yzerman said.

Callahan has played in just 18 games this season, his hip - which was surgically-repaired in June - continuing to give him issues. He's been out since early January, with the team hoping some strengthening and rehab would help.

"He just didn't feel right," Yzerman said.

Callahan had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Bryan Kelly this week and the exploratory procedure was done. …

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Lightning Strikes! podcast: Should Ben Bishop stay or go?

What should the Lightning do with goaltender Ben Bishop, who becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer?

DIRK SHADD | Times

What should the Lightning do with goaltender Ben Bishop, who becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer?

Should the Lightning trade - or keep - goaltender Ben BIshop at the NHL trade deadline? What's been the spark with the Triplets line? Times columnist Tom Jones and beat reporter Joe Smith discuss the Lightning's plans, the emergence of Nikita Kucherov and more in our latest Lightning Strikes! podcast.

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Should Lightning ride - or trade - Ben Bishop?

The Lightning has won four of its past six, with all four victories started by Ben Bishop, who has a 1.21 goals against average in that span.

AP photo

The Lightning has won four of its past six, with all four victories started by Ben Bishop, who has a 1.21 goals against average in that span.

Still want to trade Ben Bishop?

The Lightning goaltender is playing some of his best hockey of the season. And, depending on how you look at it, the timing couldn't be any better.

With Tampa Bay fightning for its playoff life, Bishop has won his last four starts, including Sunday's 3-2 overtime victory in Colorado. The Lightning has won four of its last six, with all four victories started by Bishop, who has a 1.21 goals against average in that span.

So it should come as no surprise that Bishop is starting Tuesday against the Oilers. Coach Jon Cooper said the team's improved defensive play and Bishop's resurgence go hand in hand.

"He's just in command of his game," Cooper said. "He looks intimidating when he's in there. He's making saves with ease. He's not giving up rebounds."

Said Bishop: "I feel like I'm getting some bounces now, not getting many fluky ones. Guys are playing well and it's kind of a snowball effect. Hopefully we can keep building."

When asked if he'd consider riding Bishop more, Cooper said both goalies have played well in the six-game point streak, and that will continue. …

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