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At the Rink blog

Lightning recall Oberg as insurance

Tuesday, 02.07.2012 / 1:14 PM

By Lonnie Herman - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

TAMPA -- In what qualifies as somewhat of a mystery move, the Tampa Bay Lightning recalled defenseman Evan Oberg from Norfolk (American Hockey League) on Tuesday.

This is Oberg’s eighth recall with the Lightning since he was acquired from Florida on Dec. 2. He has appeared in one game, logging 1:21 of ice time.

But what makes the call-up unusual this time is the timing and circumstances. Previously, Oberg arrived when Tampa Bay faced multiple injuries, including injuries to Victor Hedman and Marc-Andre Bergeron.

Currently, the Lightning defensive corps is as healthy as it has been all season, with Hedman returning to the lineup and Marc-Andre Bergeron set to return at any time.

Lightning coach Guy Boucher prefers to dress seven defensemen as a rule, but with Bergeron back, the team will be carrying nine players on the blueline, scratching two each game.

The addition of Oberg to the roster has lead to some speculation about a pending trade, something Boucher was quick to dismiss at his conference after the morning skate Tuesday.

“There are no trades or anything to speculate on,” Boucher said. “We don’t say everything and obviously some of our defensemen have little ‘boo-boos’ that we’re not sure about, so it’s just a precaution thing.

“If something happens, it will be something out of the blue. There is nothing hidden. It’s just the fact that we have some players that are practicing and playing but we just want to make sure. If I were 100-percent sure of Bergeron returning today we wouldn’t need to take that precaution, but right now there are things that I can’t talk about that we’re taking precautions on. Nothing gigantic.”

Later, Boucher indicated that Bergeron appeared ready to play on Tuesday night against the L.A.Kings.

“Bergeron, our top-scoring defenseman, might be back tonight,” Boucher said, “so that might be interesting too.”

It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery