Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has options to bolster defense

By now, there has to be some concern within the Lightning that Mattias Ohlund will not play this season, much less soon.

The defenseman has not skated in several weeks because of pain that has persisted in his knees despite Oct. 11 arthroscopic surgeries on both to clean out what the team called “loose bodies.”

Ohlund is frustrated by the situation, the team is as well, and fans are wondering what GM Steve Yzerman is going to do.

He has several options.

• He can stick with what he has. Bruno Gervais has done a credible job as a No. 6 defenseman in the absence of injured Pavel Kubina, so for now, at least, there is no reason to panic.

• Yzerman could get aggressive and call up Radko Gudas or Mark Barberio from AHL Norfolk. Barberio had three goals and 19 points and was plus-11 through his first 23 games. Gudas, a big hitter, had four goals and nine points and was plus-4.

Yzerman, though, is not one to rush a prospect, and long term he believes those players are better served playing big minutes in Norfolk than a supporting role with the Lightning.

• He could make a trade. Yzerman would love to obtain a steady defender with speed. But so would just about everybody else. Tampa Bay doesn’t have the depth to deal a primary roster player, and to get something significant, Yzerman would have to give something significant. He also has little interest in dealing top prospects or high draft choices.


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