Tampa Bay's newest additions - forward Barclay Goodrow and defenseman Zach Bogosian - took the AMALIE Arena ice for the first time Tuesday for morning skate ahead of the Lightning's Atlantic Division matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m. puck drop), the Bolts first versus a team from their own division since January 4.
Both players are expected to make their Lightning debut tonight. Goodrow, a physical, tenacious forward who kills penalties effectively, skated on the right wing on Tampa Bay's third line alongside Ondrej Palat (left wing) and Tyler Johnson (center). Bogosian, a rearguide with size, strength and a chip on his shoulder after having his contracted terminated by Buffalo following a refusal to accept a demotion to the American Hockey League, slotted in next to Braydon Coburn on the Bolts' third defenseman pairing.
Barely 24 hours after learning they would become members of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Goodrow and Bogosian will get a chance to show what they can add to a Lightning team with the highest of expectations.
"We didn't bring them here just to sit, so you get a good look at them now," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. "There's still a quarter of the season left. I know we can see the finish line, but there's 20 games left. Big part of our team knows what we're doing. We've just got to get these other guys acclimated."
Video: Cooper on match-up with Maple Leafs
Goodrow said he was "shocked" when San Jose general manager Doug Wilson called him into a meeting at 2 p.m. Monday to tell him he had been traded. Once he learned his destination, however, he quickly became excited about the prospect at joining a team with serious Stanley Cup aspirations.
"It was a lot of mixed emotions," Goodrow said. "I've been with those guys for a lot of years, so it was tough saying goodbye, but it makes it a lot easier when you come to an organization like this with the talent they have, the group of guys, the culture they have here. It's really exciting."
Cooper said Goodrow along with Blake Coleman, acquired from the New Jersey Devils on February 16, are tenacious forwards who never stop going after a puck and aren't afraid to go to any part of the ice.
"They're just hard to play against," Cooper said. "Skill can be hard to play against as well, but this is a part of the game that, especially when you get late and you start to, you know, if you're fortunate enough to make the playoffs, often times it's that group that pushes you across the line. Something we were looking for and looking forward to seeing here down the stretch."
Bogosian flew into Tampa Monday afternoon. He said he was impressed by how welcoming everybody has been since he arrived.
"I'm just looking to come in and compete hard every night, play strong defensively and honestly with this group of forwards that's so skilled, just try to move the puck up to them and bring a physical presence as well," Bogosian said.
Video: Goodrow on his first skate with the Bolts
The 29-year-old Bogosian has played just 19 games this season due to various injuries, part of the reason the Sabres were willing to part with the former No. 3 overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, but provides insurance for the Lightning with Ryan McDonagh still 10-14 days from returning and Jan Rutta another two to three weeks away. The Lightning dodged a major bullet with Erik Cernak, who was injured midway through the loss in Arizona, an injury that appeared much worse live than it turned out to be. Cernak was on the ice for morning skate Tuesday and will return to the lineup tonight according to Cooper.
"It was a little bit of a different situation for me not playing that much this year, but my body feels good," Bogosian said. "I feel good, and I'm really excited for a fresh start here in Tampa."
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said management's clear message it was giving the team everything it could for an extended playoff run was greatly appreciated.
"It shows that our ownership and management are determined to win," Stamkos said. "It's the same way we feel in this room. To go get some guys like that at the deadline, as a player it's a dream come true."