Friday, July 18, 2008

Lightning Speculation: What's Taking So Long?

By now loyal Lightning followers are well aware that a trade intended to bolster the blueline is on the way. The question is: What are they waiting for? Although I could be way off on my analysis, and a trade could happen tomorrow, this is my take on what is holding back the Bolts from reeling in some back-end help:

For starters, the Bolts are well aware of the assets they have to trade. A plethora of forwards including Jussi Jokinen, Michel Ouellet, Nick Tarnasky, and Jason Ward are all at the top of the list of trade bait. Which brings us to our first speed bump. The Lightning aren't the only team looking to improve their defense. The Senators as well as the Flyers have been rumored to be shopping as well. The problem for the Bolts is that Ottawa and Philly seem to have more attractive forwards to deal. With the Sens offering up the likes of Vermette and Neil, and Philly having possible candidates in Knuble, Upshaw, and Lupul; the underachieving Jokinen and Ouellet take a back seat. This means the Bolts will have to wait and take a back seat in any trades involving a team (Chicago, Florida, Nashville, Vancouver) looking to improve their offense.

Then there is Sundin. It is no secret Vancouver is looking for front-end help. And with the Canucks offer of $10mil still on the table, Vancouver will most definitely wait to make any trades until after Sundin makes a decision. If he goes elseware, then the Canucks will be shopping for forwards. But, if Sundin does sign, there is the possibility of the Canucks trading a defensemen to dump salary.

The Lightning's other tradeable assets are their pair of 1st and 2nd round picks in the 2009 draft. The only problem here is the owners have made it no secret that they covet these picks and have vowed to improve the depth of their prospect pool. If the Bolts plan on bringing in a top pair defensemen it will most likely cost them a 1st rounder. So the Bolts will most likely take their sweet time making sure it is the right move.

So everyone just sit back. There will probably be some dominoes that fall before the Lightning make a significant move. But who knows? I hope I'm back on here tomorrow posting about a trade.

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