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The Tampa Bay Lightning were big sellers at the trade deadline

Goaltender+Ben+Bishop+%28left%29+and+forward+Valtteri+Filppula+%28right%29+both+traded+before+the+deadline.
Goaltender Ben Bishop (left) and forward Valtteri Filppula (right) both traded before the deadline.

Goaltender Ben Bishop (left) and forward Valtteri Filppula (right) both traded before the deadline.

Photo provided by boltsbythebay.com

Photo provided by boltsbythebay.com

Goaltender Ben Bishop (left) and forward Valtteri Filppula (right) both traded before the deadline.

Andreas Sladojevic, Staff Writer

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The Lightning went into the March 1st trade deadline with a 28-25-8 record and were just a few points out of a wild card spot, but were still sellers at the deadline. General Manager Steve Yzerman felt that the time was now to make some moves and that this year isn’t the year for them to seriously contend for the Cup, despite high expectations before the season. The time was now to make better for the future and set themselves up for next season when Steven Stamkos will return and make a better impact. Some of the trades were tough to make as they were popular players on the team.

Steve Yzerman started his trading spree when he sent Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings for goaltender Peter Budaj, Junior defensemen Eric Cernak, and a draft pick. This was probably the biggest trade of the entire week because Bishop was such a big part of the Lightning’s success in recent years because of his all-star abilities in goal. He was the starter here and Yzerman felt that they should get something out of Bishop, considering he would be a free agent after this season and it would be tough to re-sign him. The Bolts need to invest a lot of money into their young stars and Bishop didn’t fit into that equation, so this trade made a lot of sense.  This trade hurts a little for Bolts fans, but not too much because the then back-up and now starting goaltender, Andrei Vasilevskiy has high potential and has already shown he could be a starter in this league. Peter Budaj is a good back-up to Vasy and the front office has hopes that Eric Cernak can help the defense down the road.

Following the Bishop trade, Yzerman headed to the phones and made a deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Bolts traded Center Brian Boyle for a second round pick and forward prospect Byron Froese. Boyle was always a fan favorite as he was a hard working center who grinded out every play and got into some chippy battles with opponents. This was a strong return for the Lightning as Brain Boyle will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and at age 32 may be slowing down sooner rather than later. He does provide the Leafs with a versatile veteran who can help the team in the playoff push, but Yzerman got the most out of him and built for the future.

Yzerman wasn’t done there as on deadline Friday he shipped Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers for Mark Streit. The Bolts also shipped a fourth round and seventh round pick. Mark Streit is a veteran defender who was immediately flipped to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a fourth round pick. This set of trades was only done because Yzerman wanted to dump Filppula’s $5 million contract that was holding them down. Yzerman once again showed why he has built such a successful franchise with these trades because he got what he wanted and he only had to give up a seventh round pick to get rid of Filppula’s contract. This will show to be very important when the Lightning need to pay top dollar for impending free agents Jonathon Drouin, Tyler Johnson, and Ondrej Palat.

Steve Yzerman showed that he has given up this season and has worked his magic once again to build more for the future and strengthen the core of this team. He traded players while they still had value and he has cleared a path to re-sign key players that are in desperate need of new contracts. The Lightning may not be Cup contenders this year, but expect them to be back in the thick of things this time next year.

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