The Tampa Bay Lightning's new ownership group vowed to be "staggeringly aggressive' in the NHL's free agent sweepstakes and they are trying to get a head start on that.
Sources tell TSN the Lightning have traded a fourth-round draft pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for the exclusive negotiating rights to forwards Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts, who are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on July 1.
Sources say if the Lightning were to sign Malone, the more coveted free agent of the two, the fourth-round pick would become a third round pick.
Malone has indicated he intends to go to July 1 to see what the market would bear for his services. Whether this development changes that remains to be seen. It is more likely the Lightning may be able to sign the veteran Roberts, who said during the playoffs that he intended to play again but knew it would not be for the Penguins.