NHL Trade Rumors: Pavel Kubina Held Out Of Tampa Bay Lightning Practice, Deal Seems Imminent

Pavel Kubina may have skated for the Tampa Bay Lightning for the final time. The team announced on Thursday morning that he's been held out of practice to "protect team interests." Kubina is apparently a spy, and hearing some brilliant Guy Boucher power play strategy is enough to topple the entire regime.

It's rare that a team announces something like that directly, but that just goes to show the likelihood of a trade. When the team is saying publicly that they've asked a player which teams to which he'd accept a trade, you know it's almost certain that trade will happen. There's no way Kubina plays in Thursday night's game for the Lightning, and given that he's being held out of practice to "protect the team's interests," a trade has to be coming sooner rather than later.

Lightning blog Raw Charge provides a bit more context, reporting that sources have confirmed Kubina has spent time speaking with upper management in recent days. Seems like only a matter of time before a trade, now.

Kubina, a 35-year-old defenseman, has a tendency to be beaten by speedy opposing forwards, but he can still log a ton of minutes and he uses his 6'4" frame well. In a market that benefits those selling defense, it'll be interesting to see what the Lightning can get for Kubina in a trade.

You can get team-by-team coverage of the 2012 NHL trade deadline from around our network of hockey blogs. For more on the news, rumors and speculation surrounding the trade deadline, subscribe to our StoryStream.

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