Tampa Bay Lightning 2008 Offseason Report
The only positive thing that came out of this season for the Bolts was that they won the lottery draft and the rights to the #1 pick this summer. This of course was because they finished with the league’s worst record with just 71 points (31-42-9).
Tampa Bay went from winning the Stanley Cup four years ago to this embarrassing position on which they sit right now. The Bolts need a lot of help, money and players to get back to a winning team.
Dan Boyle’s injury only allowed him to play in 37 games and this really exposed the lack of depth the Lightning had on the blue line. They allowed 267 goals against (2nd worst in the league) which also showed their terrible defense and terrible goaltending.
Depth was the problem with this team. When the Bolts traded away Brad Richards and Vaclav Prospal, they showed they do not have scoring coming from any line other than the first. Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis combined for 175 points, 20 power play goals and 12 game-winners but had a -40 plus/minus ratio. It's tough, and near impossible, to win games when your top 2 players are having a hard time playing 5 on 5 hockey.
On top of the all the team problems, the Lightning are having owner issues. Current owners led by Oren Koules, the “Saw” movies producer are trying to sell the team in a tough market. It's hard to find a buyer for a team that looks and plays horrible. So, for Tampa, the offseason is going to be tough when there is an uncertainty of who will be signing the paychecks.
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Notable top players staying for the Tampa Bay Lightning:
- Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Michel Ouellet, Jeff Halpern, Jussi Jokinen, Dan Boyle, Filip Kuba, Paul Ranger and goaltenders Marc Denis and Mike Smith.
Tampa Bay Lightning - Notable free agents (restricted and unrestricted):
- Chris Gratton, “The tool man” Tim Taylor, Andre Roy
What Tampa Bay has:
- Not much as you can see. Tampa needs much more talent in far too many positions. They do have Lecavalier and St. Louis up front, but that’s about it. This team is in deep trouble. Steven Stamkos should be their #1 pick and will help a little, but he is no Sidney Crosby.
What Tampa Bay needs:
- First of all, they need a confident owner. Secondly, the Lightning need a coach. John Tortorella was fired at the end of the season. Hmmm…on top of that, the Bolts could use 3-5 decent forwards and 2-3 defenseman that can play to NHL standards.
Expectations for the Lightning next year:
- The expectations for the 2008 Tampa Bay Lightning should not be high. It is going to be hard to sellout the arena and even harder to get more than 40 wins. The NHL playoffs are a definite no, while another top 3 draft pick a year from now would be all they could ask for after next season.
By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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