The rumor was that Senators superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson jokingly faked like he was going into the Lightning dressing room upon arriving for Thursday's game at the Canadian Tire Center. You can bet there were many Lightning fans that hoped Karlsson, 27, would jump on Tampa Bay's bus after the game. Ottawa's two-time Norris Trophy winner is the biggest prize leading up to Monday's trade deadline. "I don't think there's a team in the league that would say 'No,' to a world class player like that," said Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, Karlsson's good friend and fellow Swede. Turns out, the Lightning could be passing on the price for Karlsson. General manager Steve Yzerman said Thursday he's not sure what, if anything, he'll be able to accomplish by the deadline, saying there's "very limited" amount of fits so far in terms of what they want to do. And the fact Yzerman said he doesn't plan to deal from his current roster – including young core players like Brayden Point and Mikhail Sergachev – makes it unlikely Tampa Bay will have the king's ransom Ottawa would demand for its franchise player. "At the trade deadline, when you're trying to acquire players, usually teams that are selling are looking for younger players, draft picks and prospects," Yzerman told the Tampa Bay Times today. "At this stage, the young players on our team, we want to keep on our team and we want to add to that. "We're trying to keep this team together with the hope of improving it." There's no guarantee the Senators will even move Karlsson by Monday, as it they could just wait for this summer's NHL Draft, where there might be more teams in the bidding. But the Lightning is among the teams that have, not surprisingly, kicked the tires on Karlsson. The Lightning has other options as it hopes to address its blueline. There's Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh, 28, a shutdown defenseman who has another year on his contract at $4.7 million. McDonagh has a 10-team no-trade list, but the Lightning isn't on it. They could be a match if the price is right.
Lightning GM not willing to deal young roster players
Tampa Bay Times | Feb 22