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Lightning GM Yzerman addresses potential trade scenario involving defenseman Pavel Kubina

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

AUDIO: Steve Yzerman address Kubina trade talks 2/16/12

Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman met with reporters on Thursday during the team’s morning skate to address a potential trade scenario involving defenseman Pavel Kubina.

Kubina was not on the ice for the team’s skate in preparation for Thursday night's matchup with the San Jose Sharks in order to “protect the team's interests,” according to Yzerman.

Yzerman also said that Kubina, who has a limited no-trade clause in his contract, was asked to submit a list of teams he would be interested in moving to, although Yzerman reaffirmed that a deal was not imminent at this point.

"We're making our decisions on a player-by-player basis," Yzerman said. "We see a potential opportunity to improve our club. In regards to Pavel, and as far as any other players or any other opportunity, there's the broader strategy of wanting to be a better team in the future, so we’ll look at any opportunity to become that."

During the interim period, Yzerman said Kubina will not play and that the organization has no plans to call up a prospect from Norfolk of the AHL. With that said, Matt Gilroy is expected to play in Thursday's game against the Sharks after missing each of the past two games due to injury, thus replacing Kubina's spot in the lineup.

Yzerman described Kubina as a popular teammate who is well-liked within the locker room, as well as a veteran defenseman with playoff experience, which is partly what makes him such an attractive catch for other teams. That, however, coupled with the defenseman’s long ties to the Tampa Bay community makes any decision for Yzerman even more difficult.

“In the short time that I’ve been here, nothing has really been easy,” Yzerman added. “So yeah, this is not an easy thing to do.”

The Bolts general manager also pointed to Kubina’s contract status at the end of the year as a primary factor that would be weighed with the decision, but was adamant in saying each deal considered leading up to the Feb. 27 deadline would have to be right for both the short-term and the long-term.

“I’m not going to say, ‘hey, the sale is on.’ No, we’re not going to just give guys away,” Yzerman added. “If we come across a deal that brings in someone in return who makes us a better organization, we’re going to do that. But we’re not just going to unload guys for the sake of unloading them.”

Kubina returned to the Lightning prior to the start of the 2010-11 season after signing with the club as a free agent. He previously spent eight seasons with the Bolts from the 1997-98 season through the 2005-06 campaign before appearing in stints with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Atlanta Thrashers. This season, Kubina had registered three goals and 11 points in 52 games with the Lightning.

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