The Tampa Bay Lightning would be willing to make a trade that would help them "not just for this year, but going forward," general manager Steve Yzerman said Thursday.
The Lightning are 10 points behind the second-place Ottawa Senators, who defeated them 5-2 Thursday, and eight points behind the Boston Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
"And we're trying to win," Yzerman told the Lightning Morning Skate Show. "If I could do something that helped our team make a trade that identified a need for us -- not just for this year, but going forward -- I would do that, and haven't been able to do that to this point, and that's been going on, really, since the [NHL Draft] last year."
The Lightning on Jan. 26 traded defenseman Nikita Nesterov to the Montreal Canadiens for defenseman Jonathan Racine and a sixth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. The 2017 NHL Trade Deadline is March 1.
"It's relatively quiet around the League for a lot of reasons," Yzerman said. "One is simply the [NHL salary cap]. A lot of teams don't have the cap space. And another is, everybody is kind of in the fight. There's very few teams that would consider today and say, 'We're out of it … We're just going to start moving our assets.' And those teams need partners, and the teams at the top don't have the cap space and don't have the urgency to do anything, so it'll get closer to the deadline for us, or in the middle a little bit."
Tampa Bay (22-24-6) is 1-4-2 in its past seven games. The Lightning lost to the Bruins 4-3 on Tuesday to open a four-game homestand.
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The Lightning have been without captain Steven Stamkos, who tore the lateral meniscus in his right knee during a 4-3 win at the Detroit Red Wings on Nov. 15. The center last week met with doctors who performed his knee surgery but there remains no timetable for a return.
"So far, every indication is that healing is right on course and it's going to heal and he's going to be fine," Yzerman said. "And that's the best-case scenario is to repair the cartilage and you go on and you resume your career. But I don't have a date for you yet."
Forward Ryan Callahan has played 18 games, three since Nov. 27, and is sidelined because of an injury to his surgically repaired hip.
"[Callahan is] a little bit different," Yzerman said. "We've tried some things. He's had obviously some issues that have been recurring since coming back from surgery, and it's kept him out of the lineup. Right now, he's just in a phase where he's strengthening. We're trying to get him back to 100 percent strength, and get him back to play. When he returns to play, I don't have a date for you for that either, but both guys are progressing in the right direction."