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Sunday, Sep 24, 2017
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Lightning quiet as NHL trade deadline passes

NEW YORK - In the middle of all the chaos and noise of Gotham, the Lightning stayed as quiet as a mouse as the NHL trade deadline passed Monday afternoon without Tampa Bay using the transaction wire. Despite ongoing chatter and conversations throughout the morning and early afternoon, General Manager Steve Yzerman stood pat and will move forward with the current roster as the Lightning head into the final 20 games of the season - and beyond. "We got up (Monday) morning and said these are the things we are comfortable with trying to accomplish and if we can't do them, our worst-case scenario is we stand pat and every one of us said unequivocably if that's the worst-case scenario then we are fine,'' Yzerman said. "We like the way our team plays, we like the chemistry, all aspects of our game have improved throughout the course of the season, so we are pleased. That's why we really didn't want to force a deal just to get a deal done.''
Tampa Bay leads the Southeast Division by five points over Washington, and the Lightning are primed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2007. And despite the Capitals beefing up with the acquisitions of defenseman Dennis Wideman, center Jason Arnott and claiming Marco Sturm off waivers, Yzerman has a strong belief in the team he's assembled and didn't want to disrupt what has been accomplished to this point, nor did he want to weaken the team by taking somebody off the current roster. But it wasn't as if Yzerman didn't look for help, he just couldn't find the right move. "We had a very busy morning and early afternoon, and anything that we felt that made sense for us to do never materialized,'' Yzerman said. "For us, it was just trying to find a fit that we felt would make our team better. I don't think we are trying to outsmart ourselves. I mean, we have a pretty good team and trying to find players who would fit in in an area of need, you take into account what it would take to get them and also the salary that you are bringing. There just wasn't a fit." The only move of the day involving a Lightning player came when the Ottawa Senators claimed Curtis McElhinney off waivers, only days after the goaltender was acquired in a trade with Anaheim Ducks. McElhinney came to Tampa Bay from Anaheim on Thursday for goaltender Dan Ellis. However, the Lightning recalled goaltender Mike Smith on re-entry waivers from Norfolk of the AHL last week to back up starter Dwayne Roloson. McElhinney was placed on waivers Saturday. Though Tampa Bay did not make a move on deadline day, the Lightning shored up their team during the past two months, starting with the New Year's Day acquisition of Roloson. A few days later, Tampa Bay signed free agent defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron after he recovered from offseason knee surgery. The final move came Feb. 18 when Yzerman brought in defenseman Eric Brewer from St. Louis to add a steady, veteran presence on the blue line. Though Tampa Bay has nine defensemen - including Mike Lundin, who is expected to return from injury this week - moving forward, Yzerman said the team explored alleviating that situation but didn't want to weaken the team to make it happen. There were rumors early Monday of Randy Jones possibly being moved to Carolina for a draft pick. "We felt that any opportunity we had would not make us better for these playoffs, so we decided to stick with the nine,'' Yzerman said. "And we have nine, we dress seven and will continue to dress seven for the remainder of the season and throughout the playoffs. So where most teams keep eight for the playoffs and dress six, we're keeping nine and dress seven and prepare for injury.''
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