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St. Louis on Lightning’s future: “We’re not that far away, I totally believe that”

Apr 23, 2012, 1:14 PM EDT

Martin St. Louis AP

In his ‘exit interview’ series for the Tampa Bay Times, Damian Cristodero is speaking with various members of the Lightining, trying to make sense of a season gone wrong.

The Bolts faltered badly this year after coming within a game of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, finishing 10th in the Eastern Conference while posting a horrific road record (13-22-6).

For alternate captain Martin St. Louis, it was a disappointing year on a personal level as well. He had his ironman streak snapped at 499 games and posted his lowest goal, assist and point totals since the lockout.

That said, he still thinks the future is bright.

“We’re not that far away. I totally believe that,” he told The Times. “Even this year, it’s five wins [short of making the playoffs.] With all the injuries we had, it’s five wins.

“It’s easy to look back and think of five games you should have won, but we had a tough start, our schedule wasn’t easy at the beginning. It’s a lot harder to win on the road and we just couldn’t catch our breath. We couldn’t feel good about ourselves from the get-go starting on the road.

“We played some good games but still didn’t get the job done.”

St. Louis, who will turn 37 in a month, knows that his chances to win another Stanley Cup are getting slimmer. He’s under contract until 2015 with the Lightning yet feels totally comfortable with it, largely because of his belief in the players and general manager Steve Yzerman.

“As you get older you want a whack at the playoffs and the games in late may and early June, and I think Steve knows that and is aware of that,” St. Louis said. “If I didn’t believe that we can be playing those games next year, maybe I’d think about playing somewhere else.

“But I firmly believe we can be in that battle next June because I know what Steve can bring. I’m optimistic. I believe in the pieces we have here.”

Of note, this optimism might stem from Yzerman’s loaded deck at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. The Lightning GM has four picks in the top 40 — including No. 10 overall — and given his wealth of picks, could dip into the RFA and/or trade markets as well.

  1. bloggersarenotjournalists - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Yzerman only has 2 drafts under his belt, and has many picks this draft. Those dividends are going to start coming in next year and beyond.

    Once he finds a goalie the Lightning are going to be playoff regulars.

    Roberto perhaps?

  2. odj810 - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    of course there close. They almost made the stanley cup last year and have maybe the most unstoppable player in the world. I think they have some young talent coming up as well.

    • homelanddefense - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:02 PM

      I agree. 1 goal away from being in the SCF last season. This year was a blip. (not a TB fan either)

      • jpelle82 - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:24 PM

        this year was indicative of the real problem. goaltending. they had a hot hand that ran out last year in roloson. bet they wish they still had mike smith eh?

      • homelanddefense - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:46 PM

        hey, they can trade for Luongo. Just dont start him in Boston.

    • imleftcoast - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:26 PM

      Why would you need to start Luongo in Boston when they can’t get out of the first round?

      • homelanddefense - Apr 24, 2012 at 9:24 AM

        who cant get out of the 1st round?

      • odj810 - Apr 24, 2012 at 9:46 AM

        I don’t see why any team would trade for luongo. I know he’s a good goalie but the cap hit/years are terrible and it seems people from vancouver think there going to get some kind of haul for the goalie. Cap space is so valuable

  3. gotampabay52 - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Hockey Bay will be back 2013

  4. quonce - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    Really a goalie away. Doesn’t even have to be top flight either.

    Add a solid defencemen as well and they win the division.

  5. govtminion - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Totally agree- get a halfway decent goalie, and the Lightning are playoff-bound. Get a really good one, and they’re a Cup caliber team.

    …and no, Luongo would be a bad idea. Yzerman, don’t do it man, don’t you do it!

  6. broadstbully33 - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    Giroux and stankos just took the reins to the nhl….now stamkos come to philly and play with the best

    • odj810 - Apr 24, 2012 at 9:47 AM

      keep dreaming haha. The nhl is one place where teams actually stay with the team there drafted with at least dynamic super duper stars.

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