Lightning make another move to shore up defense

by Gary Shelton on June 23, 2017 · 0 comments

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Yzerman has tried to beef up the Bolts' defense.

Yzerman has tried to beef up the Bolts' defense.

Friday, 9 p.m.

The biggest fan of the recent moves of the Tampa Bay Lightning may not be either general manager Steve Yzerman nor coach Jon Cooper.

The biggest fan may be goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Every move the Bolts have made this off-season seems designed to protect Vasilevskiy. The team has traded for Montreal prospect Mikhail Sergachev. In the expansion draft, it traded away draft picks to keep Las Vegas from chasing young defensemen Jake Dochin and Slater Koekkoek.

And on Friday night, the Bolts drafted defender Callan Foote, the large-footed son of former NHL defenseman Adam Foote with the 14th pick.

It is all designed to balance out an offensive-heavy Bolt team that has Steven Stamkos, Nikolai Kucherov and Tyler Johnson. The Lightning still has star Victor Hedman, but the defense has grown older (and slower).

Foote was the third defenseman taken and started a run of five straight defenders in a row.

Foote, 18, skated in 71 games with the Kelowna Rockets last season, posting six goals and 57 points to go along with 41 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound defenseman ranked first on the Rockets among defensemen for points and his 51 assists ranked sixth among all WHL defensemen. He notched 25 assists while on the man-advantage, ranking fourth among all WHL defensemen for power-play assists. Foote also recorded a goal and seven points in 14 WHL playoff games.

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