January 11, 2017
Things are not going well for the Tampa Bay Lightning over the past few weeks. A rash of injuries to star players including captain Steven Stamkos and goaltender Ben Bishop seem to have finally caught up to the Lightning.
A four-game losing streak has dropped the 2015 Eastern Conference champions to sixth place in the Atlantic Division standings, but they are still only four points out of playoff spot. Insider Bob McKenzie told Vancouver’s TSN 1040 AM on Tuesday morning that he does not expect general manager Steve Yzerman to sit on his hands.
“I’ve got to figure Tampa does something at some point,” said McKenzie. “I just can’t imagine Steve Yzerman allows the Lightning – a team I thought would battle Montreal for the division lead, and is now on pace for about 80 or 82 points… And I know they’ve got injuries. And Stamkos is out. But historically, they’ve been able to weather those storms. Now they’re not.
“Defensively they’re not good enough. The goaltending has been a little shaky lately with Bishop out and Vasilevskiy. But we’ve seen Vasilevskiy perform well at a high level in the playoffs. So he’s capable of doing it. I think what’s going through here now is just one of those cases of he’s a good goalie and he’s going to be their goalie of the future, but he’s on a bit of a bad jag right now.”
McKenzie went on to say that Yzerman has to be weary of future salary cap restraints when making a deal because he still has to think about new deals for Tyler Johnson, Jonathan Drouin and Ondrej Palat who will all be restricted free agents this summer. Despite all of the financial restraints, he believes that the Bolts will make some sort of trade for defensive help.