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It’s Tampa Bay Lightning day on PHT

Aug 5, 2013, 8:15 AM EDT

Steven Stamkos AP

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Tampa Bay Lightning.

If there’s something you can always give the Lightning credit for it’s having a tremendous offense. Martin St. Louis led the NHL in points last season while Steven Stamkos finished second. Sure, Sidney Crosby‘s absence at the end of the season helped make that possible, but it doesn’t take away from how great those two played.

Points aside, Tampa is in flux having missed the playoffs each of the past two seasons. After a slightly tumultuous offseason, they look to regroup and compete with a new division filled with tougher opponents. Coach Jon Cooper will look internally to get the Lightning back to the postseason.

Offseason recap

The highlight of Tampa’s summer was seeing them buy out captain Vincent Lecavalier. The Lightning swallowed over $30 million to send Lecavalier away only to see him sign with the Philadelphia Flyers.

The draft saw Tampa draft Jonathan Drouin to be their next major offensive weapon but when it was time for free agency, GM Steve Yzerman stayed relatively quiet. Former Red Wings center Valtteri Filppula was their lone big signing and he should make for an adequate replacement for Lecavalier.

Tampa’s porous defense, meanwhile, was left virtually untouched or unimproved upon. For a team that finished in the bottom five in goals allowed, that’s one area that could’ve used a lot of improvement. Cooper will have to hope one of Ben Bishop or Anders Lindback can stand extra tall in goal to give them a shot at the postseason.


Introducing: PHT’s ‘Team of the Day’ summer series

  1. letsgolightning - Aug 5, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    We’ll find out for real this year on what we have in these two young goalies. My hope is that they’ll push each other to play better; they certainly have the potential, but neither has thrived just yet. Cautiously optimistic that we can get a 7 or 8 seed this year, but it’s going to be on the D to perform.

    • mathieug79 - Aug 5, 2013 at 9:05 AM

      I actually like our D this season, Salo-Hedman, Carle-Gudas, Brewer- Aulie, Barberio/Sustr/Taormina as spares, in past season we didn’t have the Defensemens for Guy Boucher’s defensive system. This season I expect a more up tempo, in your face system, Gudas, Salo, Hedman, Carle and Barberio are all going to benefit under Jon Cooper. Hedman should have a very good year (very underated), Carle should have a good year, Then we get Gudas in for a full season, Barberio should get plenty of chance to show his Offensive side. As for Keith Aulie, I think he’s the darkhorse in all of our D, I think last season he really stepped up Defensively, blocking shots, getting people out in front of the net, he should keep improving as the year goes by!

      I think the biggest question mark is goaltending, with more practices in between games this season, both Bishop and Lindback should be better. Also they both should have something to prove this season after Lindback’s struggle last season, and Ben Bishop losing starting job to a young John Gibson during the IIHF world championship.

      • withseidelinn - Aug 5, 2013 at 10:27 AM

        The D men you listed are the reason that Tampa will have troubles. None of them are really above average, except Hedman who has legit potential to be a first pairing guy for his career. The Salo signing was a mistake and they should have been more aggressive this offseason in trying to sign Scuderi who would have helped a lot.

  2. mathieug79 - Aug 5, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    Defense can only improve from here on out, they were horrible last season mostly due to Guy Boucher’s defensive system. Expect this season to be better in many areas, I expect Anders Lindback to be a consistent force in net (after a down season), while Ben Bishop plays the other half of the game. there is alot of openings for young guys to come in, I expect a guy like Barberio to get a shot at the NHL this season, Gudas should get a full year, Carle and Brewer were better under Jon Cooper at the end of the season. I fail to see how our defense has not improved, just having Gudas and Barberio on the team, pushing Eric Brewer down to 5-6 pairing is already something to look forward to this season.

    IMHO squeaking into playoffs would be a very good start for Jon Cooper and company.

  3. tampabayirish - Aug 5, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    Given their new division and their lack of talent, the Tampa Bay Lightning will not qualify for the playoffs again this season. As great a player as he still is….I would like to see the Lightning trade Marty…assuming they could get decent trade value for him. Trading St. Louis gets you value in return and the transition to this being “Steven Stamkos team” is complete.

    • mathieug79 - Aug 5, 2013 at 9:12 AM

      WTF? LACK OF TALENT??? are you still pissed Lecavalier was bought out? or are you disapointed the lightning passed over Seth Jones? ….Steven Stamkos, Marty St Louis, Jonathan Drouin, Teddy Purcell, Val Filppula, Ryan Malone, Richard Panik, Alex Killorn, Tyler Johnson…I’d take that top 9 any day of the week. The only reason we should trade Marty St Louis is if he asks for a trade, we owe everything to this guy, he’s the heart and soul of the team, he will also mentor, Jonathan Drouin, Tyler Johnson this season. I know the package would be great, but I want this guy to finish his career in Tampa Bay. He’s been a key factor in the 2004 Stanley Cup playoffs, and continues to be a key one in the rebuilding of this team!

      • withseidelinn - Aug 5, 2013 at 10:34 AM

        You can’t use a performance from 9 years ago as reason to keep the guy. I agree trading that trading him would be beneficial, as Tampa could receive AT LEAST a 1st round pick and a top end prospect.

      • 19to77 - Aug 5, 2013 at 1:27 PM

        How about an Art Ross from 2013, then? Is that up to your lofty standards, seidelinn?

      • withseidelinn - Aug 5, 2013 at 3:56 PM

        Not bashing the guy at all, he’s an exceptional player but in my opinion Tampa might as well get the most they possibly can in return for him while his value is at it’s peak so they can be a good team for the next 8-10 years.

  4. janiesmom - Aug 5, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    That’s all well and good, Yerdon, but if you knew anything about the Lightning, you’d know that the real questions are about Marty St. Louis’s undershirt and Ben Bishop’s mask. Until those get fixed, we won’t know what this team can really do.

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