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NHL Trade Buzz: Lightning could add defenseman

Devils expect to be busy; Islanders may seek forward; Panthers not concerned with deadline

by Tracey Myers @Tramyers_NHL / Staff Writer

Welcome to the NHL Trade Buzz. There are seven days remaining until the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline (Feb. 24 at 3 p.m. ET), and has all the important news, rumblings and analysis heading toward the deadline.

Here's a look around the League at the latest deadline doings:

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning strengthened their forward group when they acquired Blake Coleman from the New Jersey Devils for forward prospect Nolan Foote and a first-round pick in the 2020 or 2021 NHL Draft on Sunday, and more moves could be coming.

"We're always on the lookout for ways to improve our team," Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois said on Sunday. "If something's out there that makes sense and we can afford to acquire that piece, I'll do so. That being said, I wouldn't necessarily hold my breath for another acquisition between now and the deadline."

Defenseman Jan Rutta is week to week after sustaining a lower-body injury against the Vegas Golden Knights on Feb. 4. Ryan McDonagh is out a few weeks with a lower-body injury he sustained against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Feb. 6. BriseBois said Sunday he expects both back this season.

"We'll be on the lookout, but I don't know if there's another trade coming here," BriseBois said.

The Lightning (39-15-5), who are three points behind the Boston Bruins for first place in the Atlantic Division, visit the Colorado Avalanche on Monday (9 p.m. ET; ESPN+, TVAS, SN, ALT, SUN, NHL.TV).


New Jersey Devils

Several Devils players likely will continue to attract interest leading up to the trade deadline after New Jersey traded Blake Coleman to the Tampa Bay Lightning and defenseman Andy Greene to the New York Islanders on Sunday.

"There are a lot of teams who like to kick tires and see where they're at. I'm guessing my phone will ring a little more now because of what I did today," Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald said Sunday. "But I'm not looking to get rid of players."

Several players who could be traded include forwards Wayne Simmonds and Kevin Rooney, goaltender Louis Domingue, and defenseman Sami Vatanen, all of whom can become unrestricted free agents on July 1. Fitzgerald did say that 34-year-old forward Travis Zajac, who has one year after this one remaining on his contract, would not be traded.

The Devils (22-26-10), who are last in the Metropolitan Division, want to build around their two young forwards, centers Jack Hughes, 18, and Nico Hischier, 21.

"I'm looking to continue to move [the organization] forward." Fitzgerald said. "There are players here who will do that and help us."


New York Islanders

Although the Islanders acquired defenseman Andy Greene from the New Jersey Devils on Sunday, general manager Lou Lamoriello said the team would be open to more moves if necessary.

"I don't think there's any question that we'd be willing to make [more trades], but it certainly has to be the right situation and the right player and the right fit," Lamoriello said on Sunday. "And also, we cannot lose sight of tomorrow; but wherever we can get help, we're going to do that. I stayed back from the [road] trip specifically for this reason and we'll see how things play out." 

The Islanders could use another forward, with two currently out. Casey Cizikas was expected to miss 3-4 weeks with a left leg laceration sustained in a 5-3 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. Cal Clutterbuck has been out since December with a wrist injury.

The Islanders (33-18-6), who are tied for third place in the Metropolitan Division, play the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Monday (4 p.m. ET; FS-A, FS-A PLUS, MSG+, NHL.TV). 


San Jose Sharks

The Sharks likely will be sellers at the deadline, but whether forwards Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are among those traded is uncertain.

Thornton, who has a no movement clause in the one-year contract he signed before the season, was asked if he would accept a trade to a Stanley Cup contender.

"I'd have to think about it. I haven't thought about it yet," the 40-year-old told the San Jose Mercury News on Sunday. "If we win tomorrow, we're right back in the hunt. That's how I feel about it."

Thornton has 24 points (two goals, 22 assists) in 58 games with the Sharks (26-28-4), who have won four of their past five entering their game against the Florida Panthers at SAP Center on Monday (4 p.m. ET; NBCSCA, FS-F, NHL.TV). San Jose is 10 points behind the Arizona Coyotes for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference.

Marleau, who has 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 54 games this season, said he's not thinking about the deadline.

"If that comes up later on, we'll deal with it then," the 40-year-old said. "But right now, we just had a really good road trip. So, things are starting to look really good. We just have a lot of work left to do here."

Tweet from @CurtisPashelka: Could Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau be playing at home as #SJSharks one final time Monday? via @mercnews


Florida Panthers

The Panthers are struggling to stay in the race for a Stanley Cup Playoff spot, and players say they're focused on that, and not who may or may not be traded in the next week.

"I don't think anyone is concerned about the trade deadline or anything like that. We just have to play as hard as we can night in and night out," forward Vincent Trocheck told The Athletic. "Right now, we look like a team trying to make the skilled play a little too much. We have to bring a work ethic to dig out of this hole. We're all disappointed, obviously. We want to win, be a playoff team which goes deep. We can't feel sorry for ourselves. We can fix this."

The Panthers (30-22-6), who won six straight games entering the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star weekend and their League-mandated five-day break, have gone 2-6-1 since. If they're buyers, they could look to improve their defense. The Panthers have allowed 195 goals in 58 games, tied for third most in the NHL.

Florida, which is four points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for third place in the Atlantic Division, play the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Monday (4 p.m. ET; NBCSCA, FS-F, NHL.TV).

Tweet from @GeorgeRichards: #FlaPanthers have two wins this month, in San Jose today (4 ET) four points out of third, six back of the wild card. Is Dale Tallon open for business with the trade deadline a week away?


Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche could be in the market for a forward prior to the trade deadline.

Forward Matt Calvert will miss a few weeks with a lower-body injury and forward Nazem Kadri is out indefinitely with a lower body injury.

"We're hoping it's an injury where we can get [Calvert] back skating and playing here in the next couple weeks, but it's weeks, not days," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said before Colorado played the Tampa Bay Lightning at Pepsi Center on Monday (9 p.m. ET; ESPN+, TVAS, SN, ALT, SUN, NHL.TV). "I'm not sure what happened, he felt it, pain in the lower body and it got worse and worse. So, he's got whatever you call it, oblique strain."

Calvert has 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) in 50 games this season; Kadri has 36 points (19 goals, 17 assists) in 51 games.

Colorado will also be without goalie Philipp Grubauer, who has a lower-body injury. There is no timetable for his return. Grubauer is 18-12-4 with a 2.63 goals-against average and .916 save percentage.

The Avalanche (33-18-6) are third in the Central Division, two points behind the St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars.

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