When the smoke had cleared, Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman wouldn’t say his team was in better shape for the future.
Just that it’s in position to be.
Yzerman moved the third player off of his roster Wednesday, shipping forward Valtteri Filppula at the trade deadline in an effort to get out of his contract. Yzerman sent Filppula to Philadelphia along with a fourth- and a seventh-round draft pick for Mark Streit. The Bolts then traded Streit to Pittsburgh for a fourth-round pick.
Earlier in the week, Yzerman had traded goaltender Ben Bishop and forward Brian Boyle.
“We’re in a position to be better off for the future,” Yzerman said. “Now we have to make some good decisions to improve our team. We needed cap space. One, to protect the cap for next year. Two, to sign our players. Now we have to make good decisions moving forward. It positions us to do the things we need to do to become better. Cap-wise, we are (better); competitive-wise, we have work to do.”
Yzerman was asked if he would have made these moves if the Lightning was in place for the playoffs.
“It depends on what place,” he said, his face serious.
Yzerman admits he expected his team to be higher in the standings.
“Everyone knows we’re going to get crunched at some point.”