Erik Erlendsson covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Tampa Tribune.
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My take on Friday’s move
Posted Dec 29, 2006 by Erik Erlendsson
Updated Dec 29, 2006 at 10:09 PM
Don’t want to get too in-depth on this, but wanted to give my thoughts on Friday’s actions.
First of all, waiving both Dmitry Afanasenkov and Andreas Karlsson is a move purely to open up some salary cap space. If one or both are claimed, then obviously they are gone and won’t be back. If one or both clear waivers, then a reassignment to Springfield is not imminent. They will stay with the team should they clear and continue to be on the active roster.
But what Jay Feaster has done has cleared the way for a possible trade. He believed he had one in place last week so clearly he is working on something and it will require him to clear some space to get it done. By waiving Karlsson and Afanasenkov, and adding in the relief from Rob DiMaio’s long term injury, Tampa Bay now has about $1.6 million space under the salary cap, a number that is not insignificant considering the Lightning’s cap constraints. That means, as we are nearly halfway through the season, the Lightning could potentially bring in a $3 million player, not counting whatever player(s) would be going the other way in any potential trade.
And even if nothing is imminent at this point, the team still has a 30-day or 10-games played window to assign either Karlsson or Afanasenkov to the minors without having to clear waivers a second time.
I know fans have been hard on Feaster for being so frank about needing to make a trade with nothing happening to this point, but trades are harder to make in the new NHL. It’s as much about salary swaps as it is about talent swaps. And many teams are looking to dump their free agent mistakes and make them somebody else’s problem. Feaster is in near daily conversations with other teams and I believe that he will get something done, and sooner rather than later.
Tampa Bay needs help on defense. Paul Ranger is suffering a severe case of sophomore slump, Cory Sarich is clearly not worth the $1.9 million he is making this season, Filip Kuba has been good offensively but is still needs some improvement in his own end. Nolan Pratt is what he is, a hard-worker who just doesn’t have the talent while Luke Richardson just hasn’t been a good fit in the Lightning system.
Though there is some guys in the minors - Mike Egener and Matt Smaby - who could provide some help with their mobility, they are not the answer right now.
If they are going to find help on defense, it’s going to come in a trade. And by putting two players who are not contributing much to the team right now on waivers, Feaster has given himself some flexibility to get something done as he continues to work the phones.