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Unhappy Bruin interests Lightning

Defenseman Kyle McLaren hasn't played this season and requested a trade.

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 23, 2002

Defenseman Kyle McLaren hasn't played this season and requested a trade.

The Lightning apparently has at least a passing interest in disgruntled Bruins defenseman Kyle McLaren.

It is believed Tampa Bay general manager Jay Feaster and Boston GM Mike O'Connell have spoken, though nothing appears imminent and there are numerous factors the Lightning would have to consider before a deal could get done.

McLaren's agent, Neil Abbott, said Tuesday he could not confirm Tampa Bay's interest but added, "Certainly, Tampa is a great place, and the hockey team is playing super. It's a place any hockey player should take a look at."

McLaren, 25, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound restricted free agent, has not played this season and requested a trade after turning down Boston's qualifying offer of $1.755-million, which he made last season.

Abbott has said his client is looking for a "change of scenery."

The Bruins drafted McLaren ninth overall in 1995, but he has not lived up to expectations. Injuries have played a part.

McLaren played 96 games the past two seasons. He had no goals and eight assists in 38 games last season and made big news when he was suspended from Boston's playoff series with Montreal after clothes-lining Richard Zednik.

Other teams reportedly interested in McLaren are the Maple Leafs, Flames and Oilers.

"There has been significant interest in Kyle," Abbott said. "We're just being patient and are totally committed to the cause. We have no untoward feelings in that it hasn't happened yet."

A major concern for the Lightning is how a new player would affect team chemistry, which is bubbling along nicely. Another factor is financial. Tampa Bay would have to sign McLaren, though the team would shed some payroll with a trade. It also must determine if McLaren's perceived upside justifies the cost and what the Bruins would ask in return.

Asked if McLaren could land in Tampa, Abbott said, "You never know."

Feaster declined comment.

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