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It’s Tampa Bay Lightning day on PHT

Aug 4, 2012, 9:00 AM EDT

Steven Stamkos AP

Welcome to our offseason initiative — 30 teams in 30 days.

From July 16 until Aug. 14, we’ll be dedicating each day to a new team by recapping the offseason and looking ahead to 2012-13.

There will also be a series of posts looking at key stories, player profiles and burning questions regarding each squad.

Today we continue with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

After falling one win short of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, the Lightning fell far and hard last season.

Injuries and Dwayne Roloson‘s pronounced regression fueled a rough season, prompting GM Steve Yzerman to make some substantial changes during this offseason.

The Bolts experienced a significant makeover which focuses primarily on stopping opponents from scoring goals.

In net, Mathieu Garon remains a safety net behind Anders Lindback – a young goalie whose thin resume and intriguing potential represents a complete 180 from Roloson.

Those two goalies should enjoy superior defensive support, too.

Yzerman landed one of the biggest free agent blueliners Matt Carle and also added fragile (but useful) defenseman Sami Salo from Vancouver.

Combine those additions with Victor Hedman‘s development and life could be significantly easier for Lightning goalies.

PHT will examine multiple storylines to see where, exactly, those changes might place this team today.

  1. tbbolts91 - Aug 4, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    Oh hell yeah

  2. cosmoandmelovepens - Aug 4, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    I think they make the playoffs this year 6-8 seed.

  3. cosmoandmelovepens - Aug 4, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Maybe a division if they r lucky.

  4. lsxphotog - Aug 4, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Assuming that Stamkos continues his trend of improving overall as a better player and scorer, this could be an interesting year in Tampa. With support on offense coming from Vinny, St. Louis, and Purcell, the Lightning are in a good position going into next year. Malone will remain his solid, consistent self. Then there are the players who could come out of nowhere. Connolly could very easily hatch into a powerful winger, like he was showing signs of last season. Then there is J.T. Brown who played smart hockey in his few games in Tampa toward the end of the year. So up front, the Bolts look very solid. They may need another year or two to really solidify their identity, but this team is known to surprise when it’s driven by Stamkos.

    Out back….thank you. Thank you Stevie Y for cleaning things up. Anything we can do to keep Bergeron off the ice as much as possible will certainly help. They have Brewer, Carle, Hedman, Lee, Mikkelson, and Salo. All of them are solid! Lee came into Tampa and OWNED the defensive position – didn’t expect that one bit.

    So, all things considered, if Lindback can come out strong, this team will go places. Nobody likes to shoot on the guy, now they have to get through a tricky D just for an opportunity to shoot on a brick wall. I like it.

    Excited for hockey in Tampa!

    • mathieug79 - Aug 4, 2012 at 5:11 PM

      I know you say gotta keep bergeron off the ice, but the guy actually improved alot since his days with montreal, he’s been an avg defender with a wicked shot. I also wish he would only play during PP, but you can’t waste a spot on the bench for him just to play on the PP. I like what I saw from Brian Lee on the PP last season tho. I think Lindback will be the reason they wont have to play the trap anymore, or play less trap and more forecheck.

      anyways can’t wait for the season to start ( if it does)

      PS im not sold on Brett Connolly making the NHL again this season. I really hope he does come in stronger and leaner at the camp. I also think we need to give a look at either Tyler Johnson or Corey Connacher. Its nice to see the alot of prospects ready or close to being ready to play at the NHL level.

      • lsxphotog - Aug 5, 2012 at 9:10 AM

        I didn’t follow him in Montreal and I said that comment because of his knack to make a bonehead play at even strength. Something you can learn in time, but I think he’s had enough time to develop as a better puck mover so at this point it may not be in the cards. He’s certainly a force on the point.

        Well I was a big fan of Connolly, so I try to watch him on the ice as much as I can. He plays very smart and goes where he needs to go. I think he dealt with a lot of frustration last year when his numbers weren’t reflecting his efforts on the ice, and he started to noticeably slack. I honestly believe he could turn into a solid wing on the first two lines as he matures. But, at this point, this is little more than faith that he has the skills.

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