The NHL trade deadline may have been a rather boring affair across the league, but someone must have forgotten to pass the memo along to Steve Yzerman. The Tampa Bay Lightning's GM went on a tear yesterday, making three trades and bringing in three new players for their defense. Now tonight, one day removed from the insanity of the deadline, Tampa Bay fans will get to see their new players in action against the Montreal Canadiens.
The biggest changes for the Bolts all came on defense. Yzerman traded away Matt Gilroy and Pavel Kubina, while adding four new defensive faces: Keith Aulie, Mike Commodore, Brian Lee and Sebastien Piche. With the exception of Commodore, these new defenders are all young and could contribute to the Bolts in a large way in the future (especially Keith Aulie, a top prospect). Considering that it's still unclear if Victor Hedman will play in tonight's game after suffering an "upper-body injury" (likely another concussion) during the Bolts' last game, these players all stand to see plenty of immediate ice time with the Bolts.
It's never easy for a team to recover from being overhauled, especially in a sport like hockey that relies on communication and fluidity, but the Lightning at least have a couple things going for them that should make the transition easier. The Candiens are currently sitting in last place in the Eastern Conference with 58 points, so they shouldn't be an overpowering team for the Bolts' newly revamped defense. Also, the Lightning play eight of their next 10 games at home, which should give them some comfort and make for a less stressful transition.
Tonight's game starts at 7:30pm EST at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
For more on the Lightning, check out SB Nation's blog on the Bolts, Raw Charge.