Kubina Sent to Philly; Yzerman Stockpiling Picks
Reports from TSN's Darren Dreger and ESPN's Pierre LeBrun state Lightning defenseman Pavel Kubina was traded today to the Philadelphia Flyers for a second round pick and a fourth round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. The Flyers had the choice of the Panthers second rounder this year or next. They've already traded their own second rounder to the Lightning (Andre Meszaros), and another one they previously acquired to the Stars.
The Lightning now own four second round picks, their own, Philadelphia's, Minnesota's via the Sharks, and Florida's via the Flyers. Combined with their first and third picks, that will give the Lightning six picks in the first 70 selections of the draft. The magic number for greater probability of a player making it to the NHL is top-60.
In all likelihood Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman is stockpiling picks for a pre-draft trade, probably for a goaltender. Canucks goalie Cory Schneider is the most probable target. That trade likely won't happen until June, though.
If he chooses to keep the picks, Yzerman can load up the Lightning's farm with high-quality prospects in order to achieve his goal of creating an organization that is self-supported player-wise and can compete for the Cup every year.
Kubina, a pending unrestricted free agent, was pulled from practice and game activity this week by Yzerman to protect the Lightning's trade interests.
The NHL's traded deadline is a week from Monday.