On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Lightning acquired Sebastian Piche and a first-round draft pick in 2012 in a three-way deal involving the Detroit Red Wings and the Colorado Avalanche. The Lightning traded away right wing Steve Downie to the Avalanche and got defensemen Kyle Quincey in return. Tampa Bay then sent Quincey to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Piche and the 2012 first-round pick.
"I'm trading players and popular players for draft picks," Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said. "These moves are made for the future. My only message is I'm going to do what I feel is necessary to be a Stanley Cup contender, and I think these moves help us get going in that direction."
Yzerman arguably got the best end of the deal. Downie, who has 23 points this season, was traded away for what was a minor-league pick and a first-round draft pick. We all know Downie was a frontline player in Tampa Bay, but most likely will be playing on the third or fourth line in Colorado.
With Yzerman's connections in Detroit, one has to believe he knew what he was going to get for Downie prior to making this deal.
Fans in Tampa Bay are upset with Downie's exit, but they have to be hopeful for the future. With the moves Yzerman has already made, the Lightning now have two first-round draft picks in 2012 and a maximum of four in 2012. Yzerman has been quite active in the past few days, the Downie trade marks the fifth move Yzerman has made in six days.
"These draft picks give us options," Yzerman said. "They don't help today, no question, but, again, my goal is to win a Stanley Cup here. We have to do some difficult things to do that."
The amount of draft picks Yzerman has now is plenty to get a top five defensemen or a No. 1 goalie that Tampa Bay has needed for quite some time now. The question is, will Yzerman make a move like this before the trade deadline or will he wait until the offseason? From here on out, we will just have to wait and see.