Feb 25, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson (30) defends the net against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Pens won 8-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE
The Tampa Bay Lightning have made a number of trades in recent weeks, but they may still be busy before the deadline passes.
Leading up to today's trade deadline, there have been few teams in the NHL as busy as the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts have already traded away three soon-to-be-free-agents -- Pavel Kubina, Dominic Moore, and Steve Downie -- stockpiling draft picks in the process, giving them two first-round picks and four second-round picks. With this many top draft picks, the Lightning are poised to replenish their organization this upcoming year, either through trades or the draft.
But despite their recent flurry of activity, the Lightning may not be done yet. There are still a handful of players on the Lightning that will be free agents this upcoming year, and it's entirely possible that GM Steve Yzerman moves one or more of these players before the end of the day.
In particular, there are two more players I think Yzerman should deal if offered something (anything!) in return:
Brett Clark, Defense: At 35 years old, Clark is a veteran blue-liner with a long resume and solid defensive reputation. At this point, he's also a horrible defender. He's logging around 18 minutes of ice time per game, but he is also the worst defensive player on the Bolts right now. His -24 plus-minus is the worst mark of his career (by far), and if you dig beneath the surface, he's being used as the Bolts' #3 defender and he's doing a poor job of it. He has the worst Relative Corsi score of any of the Bolts' defenders, meaning that when he's on the ice, the opposing team gets waaay more shots off than the Lightning do. I don't know how many times I've seen the Lightning allow a goal on a poor defensive play, letting up a goal-line pass or something similar, and on the replay, it was Clark who had screwed up.
Clark will be a free agent this year, and it's possible that some team could want him based on his reputation and past success. If so, the Bolts should pass him off and get whatever they can in return, no questions asked.
For another take on who the Lightning might still trade, check out Raw Charge's trade deadline thread.
Dwayne Roloson, Goalie: No doubt about it, Roli has struggled this season. His .880 save percentage is a career low for him, and considering he's 42 years old, it seems likely that his performance has dropped off for good. His fundamentals aren't very strong -- the constant flopping and flailing is terrifying to watch -- and his reaction time doesn't seem to be as fast as it used to be.
Yet...Roli has a reputation as a "Playoff Goalie". His career save percentage in the playoffs is .918 -- a decent chunk higher than his .908 career save percentage -- and some teams seem to believe that it's possible for playoff success to be a skill. It's why the Lightning acquired Roloson last season, and there have been some rumors that Roloson is receiving some interest from other clubs this year.
I don't necessarily buy the whole "Some goalies are simply better in the playoffs" schtick, considering that sounds way too much like giving credence to small-sample size randomness, but if it will net the Lightning another draft pick (even a low one), I can get behind that.
Will the Lightning end up trading either Clark or Roloson? We'll see. Yzerman hasn't sounded like he's actively looking to make more deals at the moment, but if someone comes to him with a good offer for either of these players, I certainly hope he'd be willing to pull the trigger.