Quick Strikes: Steve Yzerman is a wizard

Yzerman makes some brilliant moves, Stamkos is closer to returning, and the Bolts steal a win over the Hurricanes.

The Bolts

Steven Stamkos joined the team for practice yesterday. Good news - the captain’s beautiful one-timer appears to be intact.

The Tampa Bay Lightning rallied to beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in overtime, but coach Jon Cooper knows it wasn’t the team’s best performance. “We got schooled in the first period. It was another game where Vasy (goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy) had to come up huge for us just to keep it a one goal game. I think that was the difference for us was keeping it a one goal game.” [Raw Charge]

The Trade Deadline

Let’s go through the moves, including our reactions to the trades:

  • Lightning acquire defensive prospect Erik Cernak, goalie Peter Budaj, a seventh-round pick, and a conditional pick from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Ben Bishop and a fifth-round pick. “Budaj is making $600,000 this year and has $143,333 left of his cap hit for the rest of the season. By contrast, Ben Bishop has $1,421,389 of cap hit left. That additional cap space could be just enough to avoid having any cap overage going into next season.” [Raw Charge]
  • Lightning acquire AHL forward Byron Froese and a second-round pick from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Brian Boyle. “Froese will be a big boost offensively for the Crunch as they make a push for the playoffs.” [Raw Charge]
  • Lightning acquire AHL goalie Mike McKenna from the Florida Panthers in exchange for AHL goalie Adam Wilcox. “While this move comes as a bit of a shock, it’s a welcomed surprise for a Crunch team that is looking poised to make a run for the league’s most coveted piece of hardware.” [Raw Charge]
  • Lightning acquire defenseman Mark Streit from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a fourth-round pick and a conditional seventh-round pick. “In the long term, the Lightning have moved Filppula’s salary commitment of $5 million for next season without retaining any salary. They had to take Streit back in this trade to make the salary work for the Flyers.” [Raw Charge]
  • Lightning acquire fourth-round pick from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for defenseman Mark Streit. Lightning retain 50% of Streit’s salary. “These two trades connected are now a SUPER WIN for Yzerman, whereas it was just a WIN before. Yzerman is a Jedi and he continues to prove how adept he is at maneuvering assets and contracts and handling other general managers around the league.” [Raw Charge]/

Trust the Yzerplan

Clearly we think Yzerman is brilliant, but it’s possible that we’re being slightly biased. How does everyone else view these moves?

“Steve Yzerman is a wizard. In the span of a week, the Lightning GM turned a disappointing situation (out of the hunt) into $15 million of free cap room to sign his top players this offseason and add another big piece (hello, Shattenkirk). He basically laundered the Flyers’ Mark Streit for the Penguins, playing the two rivals off each other for his own gain. He might be planning to take over the world next, but we can’t wait to see how he does it!” [SB Nation]

“The Ninja found ‘the only taker’ (in his words) for Ben Bishop, pulling two draft picks, Peter Budaj and prospect Erik Cernak while clearing out salary cap space for bonuses this season.” [Puck Daddy]

“There’s a reason why Steve Yzerman is so highly regarded in the hockey world. And his moves at the trade deadline, particularly in the dying hours of the day, illustrated that perfectly.” [The Hockey News]

“In short, the Lightning sold, sold, sold in the days, hours, and minutes leading up to the trade deadline, but the roster really isn't any worse because of it, and the future looks a whole lot brighter.  Call it a win for Mr. Yzerman.” [The Lightning Lounge]

“Yzerman was able to make some deft moves on Wednesday to improve the overall status of his franchise moving forward.” [The Bleacher Report]

“Best magic trick: Presto! Lightning GM Steve Yzerman made Valtteri Filppula’s contract disappear. It was hurting the team from a money and play standpoint.” [12 News]

The League

Perhaps the most entertaining part of the trade deadline was watching former goalie Ilya Bryzgalov chat with the guys on Sportsnet. Choice quotes include “In Philly, win or lose, you’re still overpaid,” and “Decepticons always have nice stuff. Autobots, they rebels. They weapons aren’t as nice.” [Sportsnet]

The Las Vegas Golden Knights are officially in business! "We've been talking with teams here for a few weeks now," general manager George McPhee said. "Teams are looking for some certainty with their rosters and obviously trying to improve their rosters before the trading deadline and they want to talk to us to see if there's a player that we could agree upon that for a couple months from now to claim, which would make their life easier." [SB Nation]

As we move past the chaos of the trade deadline and look towards the future, it’s important to remember one thing: Nikita Kucherov is very, very, very good at hockey.