Aug 4, 2012, 10:01 AM EDT
From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.
38-36-8, 84 points. 10th in Eastern Conference, third in Southeast Division.
10th overall – Slater Koekkoek (D – Peterborough – OHL)
19th overall – Andrei Vasilevskiy (G – Ufa 2 – Russia)
The 2011-2012 season was an admitted let down for the Lightning after coming within one win of the Stanley Cup finals the year before. While Steve Stamkos was his usual dominant self scoring 60 goals and finishing with 97 points, the area where Tampa got killed was in goal.
Dwayne Roloson and Mathieu Garon had fits where they couldn’t stop a beach ball and the team finished dead last in goals against (281). Even in a Southeast Division that was rather craptacular, that’s not going to get you anywhere. That made it tough to watch as goaltending is what helped the Lightning get as far as they did the year before.
Things are shaping up to be interesting this season, however. Adding Anders Lindback as their new No. 1 goalie puts the focus on goaltending right away. Lindback played for two seasons in Nashville while not getting much work behind Pekka Rinne. Can he prove to be a legitimate No. 1 guy?
Bringing back Matt Carle to help shore up the defense was a sneaky strike from GM Steve Yzerman as the defensive unit needed help. Sami Salo should help the power play out quite a bit as well.
Taking a flier on Benoit Pouliot to add to their top six will give them more speed and occasional goals while adding B.J. Crombeen to solidify the bottom six forwards will give them a bit more grit. With the improvements Washington and Carolina made this offseason, the Lightning hope to hang in that race for the top.
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