With trade, Yzerman solidifies Lightning in net
The reasoning behind Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman's strategy to load up on draft picks at this past season's trade deadline became a bit clearer on Friday.
Yzerman traded two second-round picks in next weekend's NHL Entry Draft (from Minnesota and Philadelphia, respectively), one third-round pick in 2013 and goaltender Sebastien Caron to the Nashville Predators in exchange for goaltender Anders Lindback, forward Kyle Wilson and the Predators' seventh-round pick, also in next weekend's upcoming NHL Draft in Pittsburgh.
The acquisitions are perceived, at least by Yzerman, to somewhat solidify Tampa Bay's situation in net, while also add an offensive player to the mix to create additional depth at the forward position.
"Acquiring a goaltender was obviously a priority going into this summer, and with all of our draft picks, we never really waivered from our plan," Yzerman said. "We looked at the options available to us prior to the draft and we liked what we saw in Lindback."
Lindback, 24, served primarily in a backup role this past season in Nashville to starting net minder Pekka Rinne. He did, however, appear in 16 games this past season, posting a 5-8-0-0 record with a 2.42 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage. He also adds size to the Lightning crease, standing 6-foot-6 and weighing in at 203 pounds.
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A seventh-round pick by the Predators in 2008, Lindback had played in his native Sweden before making his North American debut in 2010-11.
"He's relatively inexperienced, but we think he has tremendous potential," Yzerman added. "We gave up a significant amount to get him, but there weren't a lot of options, so we paid a hefty price, but we thought the return was worth it. We feel he's ready, and in talking to him, he is excited about the opportunity to take on more."
Wilson, meanwhile, has played for three different teams in each of his three seasons in the NHL. Standing in at 6-foot, 201 pounds, Wilson, 28, registered two assists in as many games as a member of the Washington Capitals in 2009-10 and also recorded four goals and 11 points in 32 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2010-11 prior to joining the Predators this past season, for whom he played in five games.
According to various scouting reports, Wilson is a highly-skilled offensive center, known as a pure goal scorer who is also solid in the faceoff circle. Primarily, however, he has best been utilized as a winger.
"Kyle had a very good year in Milwuakee this past season," Yzerman added. "He's a skilled guy, and he's someone who will compete for a spot in training camp."
Yzerman also stated that he was satisfied with the moves, especially since he was able to retain both of the Lightning's first-round picks at next weekend's NHL Entry Draft and still have up to two more remaining second-round picks.
"We really wanted to hang on to both of those," Yzerman said. "Fortunately we were able to, and we also got a deal done in the process that we can feel good about."
Yzerman concluded by saying he has no specific direction of where to go from here in terms of his next move, but will continue to diligently look at all the options with the goal of further improving the hockey club.