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Stamkos, Lightning are very much in playoff race

Mar 5, 2012, 9:05 PM EDT

There weren’t many “sellers” during the 2012 trade deadline, but Steve Yzerman’s Tampa Bay Lightning embraced that role with aplomb.

So, naturally … the Lightning are rapidly ascending the Eastern Conference standings to the point that they actually have a legitimate chance at a playoff berth. Wait, what now?

Steven Stamkos‘ superhuman goal scoring ways are spearheading a four-game winning streak, leaving the Lightning in 10th place with 68 points. Surely Tampa Bay is eagerly watching NBC Sports Network’s current game between the Buffalo Sabres (11th place, 68 points) and Winnipeg Jets (eighth place, 70 points), but the hockey world is taking note of the Bolts, as you can see from the video below.

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  1. scottfmullin - Mar 5, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    Yeah, Stamkos is probably the best scorer in the NHL, but what’s behind him? Defense is weak and thin, and the Garon-Roloson duo doesn’t do much to strike fear into opponents’ hearts.
    Acquire a good goaltender and some serviceable d-men over the summer, then the Bolts are REALLY looking at something good. But this year they feel like an incomplete team.

  2. bcisleman - Mar 5, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    Surging yes, but their weak defense got weaker by trading Kubina. WIN won, so they are 5 points out. I suspect they will fall well short of the playoffs.

    • hystoracle - Mar 6, 2012 at 12:44 PM

      Check the standings – only 4 points out… With 2 games in hand (poss 4 points) going into tonight.. Plus another meeting between the two the last game of the season. It will be interesting.. Bolts may be last season’s Devils — fall way behind and make a roaring comeback just to fall a couple points short.

  3. gbiscottagecheesefatties - Mar 5, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    I still don’t see why Tampa or Toronto didn’t trade for Harding… not that this is related to the story but it kind of is for Tampa seeing as they have Stamkos and Stamkos wins games.

    • bcisleman - Mar 6, 2012 at 12:42 AM

      Harding is basically backup material. His number are a bit better than Garon’s but still not good. TBL need a quality #1 and a good defense in front of him. Trading away assets for a backup doesnt make sense.

      Two other things that don’t make sense: trading away Kubina who had been a reliable defender and trading for Quincey and then giving him away for a late 1st round pick. Two quality defenders on a team that badly needs them and certainly needs them more than the draft picks. I am not sold on the CW that Stevie Y. is a great genius as a GM.

      • rca26 - Mar 6, 2012 at 2:40 AM

        Yzerman accumulated lower-cost young defensemen at the deadline, and I’m nearly certain that the Quincey pick will go into cashing in on a franchise goalie in the offseason, either Schneider or Bernier.

        As for Kubina, a 2nd-rounder is a pretty good return on a 35-year-old unrestricted free agent. That’s the right way to sell at the deadline.

      • hystoracle - Mar 6, 2012 at 12:48 PM

        Plus the veteran Commodore for basically nothing -(7th rounder if the Bolts make the playoffs). Added size in all three acquisitions to a smallish Blue line. Kubina has been a great player but he gets slower by the day and wasn’t in the teams long term plans. Gathering draft picks gives Steve Y. some flexibility going into the draft to acquire a goaltender who may not be available at this time because he is on a cup contender.. *cough**cough* schnieder *cough*cough*.

        HE sold off assets the team responded by winning and so he gained defensive assets – an area the Bolts are thin at in their system. Sounds like he made some sound decisions.

    • bcisleman - Mar 6, 2012 at 12:16 PM

      Players are generally low cost for a reason. TBL needed quality defensemen much more than picks and Stevie would need MUCH more than a late first to get a quality goalie.

      • hystoracle - Mar 6, 2012 at 12:51 PM

        How about 1 or 2 2nd rounders in addition? Canucks can’t keep both Schneider and Luongo and still be under the cap. Goalies will be available.

        With 2 firsts and 3 (maybe 4_) 2nd rounders that is a lot of ammunition to spend for a guy a team may lose in Free agency anyway.

  4. boltsfan777 - Mar 6, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    Everyone, please keep sticking the Bolts with a fork. They seem to play better from that position. I still haven’t pulled the fork out yet either since there are several teams playing well out of desperation for that eighth spot. For now the best part is every game has a playoff atmosphere and is still interesting. We’ll see…

    • bcisleman - Mar 6, 2012 at 12:18 PM

      If Stevie kept Kubina and Quincey, I’d like TBL’s chances. Don’t think the current D will hold up.

      • rca26 - Mar 6, 2012 at 2:38 PM

        But see, when you cut a rebuild short, that’s how multiple rebuilds occur. He had a decision to make this deadline: push all in and hope for a bunch of bounces on the way to an 7-seed, or pick up some assets and keep building toward being a consistent winner.

        I don’t like missing the playoffs any more than the next fan, but I don’t want to be in a constant cycle of near-misses and re-tools like some of the teams blessed with more reactive GMs.

        If Tampa Bay makes the playoffs this year it’ll just be gravy, but I’d rather be a cup contender in a couple seasons than hover around the bottom seeds year after year.

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