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Trade Coverage

Right-handed defenseman among Tampa Bay's needs

Lightning NHL Trade Deadline outlook

by Corey Long / NHL.com Correspondent

With the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline approaching at 3 p.m. ET on Monday, Feb. 29, NHL.com is taking a close look at what moves teams might be looking to make and whether they'll be buyers or sellers. Today, the Tampa Bay Lightning:

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

Record: 30-21-4, 64 points; 4th in Atlantic Division, 2nd in Eastern Conference Wild Card

Unrestricted free agents: Steven Stamkos, C; Braydon Coburn, D

Restricted free agents: Jonathan Marchessault, C; Kristers Gudlevskis, G; Cedric Paquette, C; Alex Killorn, C; J.T. Brown, RW; Nikita Kucherov, RW; Nikita Nesterov, D; Vladislav Namestnikov, C; Joel Vermin; RW

Projected 2016 draft picks: 9 (1 first)

Projected 2017 draft picks: 7 (1 first)

Needs: Right-handed defenseman, physical forward

Surpluses: Goalies

Players Potentially in Play: Jonathan Drouin, LW; Matthew Carle, D; Killorn; Gudlevskis

Likely status: Buyer

Skinny: General manager Steve Yzerman on Monday said in a statement that "Stamkos will not be traded before the NHL's trade deadline. I have said repeatedly that it is our hope to reach an agreement with Steven on a new contract at some point, and with 27 games remaining in the season, our entire organization, Steven included, wants to focus on making the playoffs. I will keep the negotiating process strictly between the involved parties and have no further comment on the state of those negotiations." There is still plenty of work for Yzerman to do prior to the deadline. Drouin has not been heard from since Tampa Bay suspended him for refusing to continue his assignment with Syracuse of the American Hockey League. Yzerman is in no rush to trade Drouin, the No. 3 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, and anyone interested in the 20-year-old forward likely will also be asked to take Carle, who carries a $5.5 million salary-cap charge each of the next two seasons. If Drouin doesn't get traded or play again in the NHL this season, another year gets put on his entry-level contract since he is two games short of the 40 games needed on the active roster to count as an accrued season. There also is a possibility that the Lightning will try for a reconciliation with Drouin in the offseason if he doesn't get traded before the 2016 draft. The recent injury to defenseman Jason Garrison has put an additional emphasis on finding a defenseman at the deadline, preferably one with a right-handed shot. Yzerman will also be looking for a forward with size and grit who can play down low and help the Lightning better match up with bigger teams. The St. Louis Blues have been regularly linked as a potential trade partner for the Lightning. Yzerman has been to St. Louis twice, and assistant GM Pat Verbeek and senior adviser Tom Kurvers have attended Blues games in recent weeks. The Dallas Stars have also been mentioned as a potential trade partner. Tampa Bay's farm system has thinned out considerably with young forwards like Namestnikov, Kucherov and Marchessault finding regular roles in the NHL. Expect Yzerman to be busy as the deadline approaches since the Lightning will try to go all in on winning the Stanley Cup in what could be Stamkos' last season with them

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