Quick Strikes: Lightning GM Steve Yzerman wants to add “more offense from the blue line”

The Bolts

This week’s 30 Thoughts column by Elliotte Friedman includes plenty of discussion about the Tampa Bay Lightning, featuring some insight from General Manager Steve Yzerman. Skip to 22-26 for the majority of the Bolts coverage. “Yzerman wouldn’t address the aborted Kevin Shattenkirk trade, but did say the Lightning will look at adding ‘more offence from the blue line, but there’s no guarantee we can do that.’ Is there a preference for a right or left shot? ‘Doesn’t matter,’ he replied. He had high praise for Norris Trophy finalist Victor Hedman (‘an evolved presence on and off the ice’) and Nikita Kucherov (‘really, really driven to be a top player and win’).” [Sportsnet]

The NHL Draft Lottery is right around the corner. “The Lightning have a combined chance of 6% of ending up in one of the top three spots. That’s a little bit better than 1 in 17. And while 6% is a low number, it isn’t the same as zero. The odds are about the same as flipping a coin four times and getting heads all four times.” [Raw Charge]

What if the Bolts landed the first overall pick? Assuming they picked Nolan Patrick, what would life be like if he joined the Lightning? “The good: You play for a great team that could contend for the Stanley Cup as early as next season, you're surrounded by all-star players, the weather is great and the fans are cool. The bad: When your rookie deal is up, Steve Yzerman does that Jedi mind trick where you re-sign for way less money than you should.” [Sportsnet]

It seems like the Bolts puppy calendar is coming along nicely. Can't wait to see the finished project!

Wrangling players & puppies + bossing @scottaudette around. Happy Tuesday. 😏🐶☀️

A post shared by Brittany Austin (@brittanylarkin) on

“Perhaps the most significant development over the final couple months of the season was the continued maturation of 22-year-old goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. The third-year pro started the season as option 1-A in head coach Jon Cooper's two-headed goalie monster with Ben Bishop, but by the end of 2016-17, Vasilevskiy had emerged as a bonafide No. 1 following the trade of Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings three days before the trade deadline and Vasilevskiy's own growth.” [Tampa Bay Lightning]

The Prospects

Trade deadline acquisition Mike McKenna is settling into his role as starting goaltender for the Syracuse Crunch. “We won the game. That's the important part,” McKenna said after practice on Tuesday. “I guess I did well enough to allow us to do that. I think there's a lot of stock that's put in, obviously your goalie has to play well. But it's a team sport. Often times it's equated too much to being like baseball where you think it's pitcher against pitcher. It's really not. It's how the entire team plays, how we support one another, and we (goalies) are part of that.” [Syracuse.com]

Tanner Richard leaves Syracuse to play for Switzerland in the IIHF World Championships. “Tanner was not part of our team right now. He was not a regular player for us,” said Syracuse coach Ben Groulx. “He had an opportunity to play for the Swiss team. At one point, you have to do what's best for your career. I think it's a great opportunity for him. I support that decision 100 percent.” [Syracuse.com]

Cameron Darcy (#13 in white) and Brian Hart (#27) were held off the score sheet as the Kalamazoo Wings were eliminated from the ECHL playoffs with a 3-1 loss to the Toledo Walleye in Game 7.

Bokondji Imama (#51 in white) earned second star honors by scoring two goals and Mathieu Joseph (#21) scored a goal as the Saint John Sea Dogs routed the Chicoutimi Saguenéens 5-0. Saint John leads the series 2-1.

The Game

Travis Green is Canucks’ new coach, and the right choice. "Green built up Baertschi after his career trajectory went off course and was in the process of doing the same with Jake Virtanen last season. He’s got a knack for working with young players and, well, the Canucks figure to have more than a few on next year’s roster." [Puck Daddy]

Let me dispell the rumor that Brian Boyle definitely wants to stay with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He enjoyed his time there and is open to staying, but that's the extent of his commentary about his future from his exit interview.

Transcript from 3:18 to 3:40.

Reporter: Are you open to coming back here if something could be worked out?

Brian Boyle: Yeah, for sure. I mean I think like I said - I meant what I just said, with everything down the line. It's something that - I'm not even sure where everyone stands so I'm not really thinking about it. I'm thinking about, again like I said, my wife, my son, and our baby that's on the way.

No matter where he signs his next contract, we wish him and his family all the best!