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Trade: Tampa Bay acquires Benoit Pouliot from Boston

Benoit Pouliot

Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman came into the 2012 NHL Entry Draft armed with picks and many expecting him to use them in a potential trade.

On Saturday morning, that prediction came true.

Yzerman made the first significant move of Round 2 by sending Michel Ouellet and his fifth-round pick to Boston in exchange for Benoit Pouliot.

Okay, the rights to Benoit Pouliot.

Pouliot, 25, is an impending RFA coming off a deal that saw him make $1.1 million last year with the Bruins. The former first-round pick -- Minnesota took him fourth overall in 2005 -- had a decent-if-unspectacular 2011-12 campaign in Boston, scoring 16G-16A-32PTS in 74 games (career highs in goals and points, by the way.)’s Joe Haggerty said the Bruins “had little intention of qualifying [Pouliot] as an RFA,” so the deal gives Yzerman a head start on negotiating -- within the parameters of restricted free agent qualifying offers, of course.

As for the fit, the deal makes sense given Pouliot’s ties to the Lightning. He briefly played under head coach Guy Boucher with Montreal’s AHL affiliate in Hamilton, along with Lightning forwards J.T. Wyman and Tom Pyatt.