Prospal dealt to Flyers
It appears we're getting started a little early:
The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired defenseman Alexandre Picard and either a second or third-round pick from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for center/left wing Vaclav Prospal, Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced. If Philadelphia qualifies for the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals Tampa Bay will receive Philadelphia's second-round pick in 2009, and if they do not the Lightning will receive Calgary's third-round pick in 2009.Prospal is strictly a rental, a pending unrestricted free agent who had really fallen out of favour in Tampa Bay this season and had zero chance of returning with the Lightning.
He'll serve as somewhat of a replacement for Simon Gagne, and especially on the power play, where the Flyers have been the league's second most dangerous team. Philadelphia finally won tonight in a shootout in Buffalo, but have really been struggling, as the win ended a 10-game losing skid that put them out of playoff position.
Prospal began his career with the Flyers after they drafted him in the third round in 1993, but was dealt to Ottawa after just 59 games as a Flyer. Now 33, he's only played 43 career playoff games, scoring six goals and 21 points.
He was not a member of the Lightning team that won the Stanley Cup in 2004.
Prospal was red hot to start this season but had cooled off lately, scoring only a handful of points in a month-long stretch from mid-January to mid-February that saw him ride the pine and grapple with coach John Tortorella.
Since then, he's managed six goals in his last six games, giving him a career high 29 on the year.
On the Lightning side of the deal, they get a decent prospect in Picard, the Flyers' third-round pick from 2003. Still only 22, he's played in 72 NHL games to this point and was a major contributer with the AHL Phantoms this season with 38 points in 53 games.
He's big, but not physical, but should turn into an NHL-calibre defender at some point.
It's interesting to see the Flyers go for it after finishing dead last in 2006-07, and I expect them to be active in picking up a defenceman tomorrow as well.