Blog Entry

Lightning have decisions to make to keep cracking

Posted on: May 27, 2011 11:42 pm
Edited on: May 28, 2011 8:55 am

Hats off to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

You'd be hard pressed to find anybody before the season that saw this coming. It was clear they were getting better, and the vibe around the organization improved dramatically with the addition of Steve Yzerman to the front office, but Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals? That's exceeding expectations.

But here's the funny part. You look at this team and you don't see a group of over-achievers. It was a rapid improvement, but you don't get the sense this was a fluke. No, the Lightning are that good.

The question now becomes, will they be able to stay this good?

This offseason, Stevie Y will have his work cut out for him. For starters, there is the issue of Steven Stamkos. The budding superstar is a restricted free agent this year and you better believe there will be teams sending offer sheets his way if the two sides can't work out a deal in the next few weeks -- you have to think a deal being reached in the next two weeks is the most likely outcome. Obviously if he goes the loss is tremendous, but if he stays, the impact will be felt elsewhere as he is due a significant pay raise.

Even with the salary cap going up next season, the Bolts won't be able to keep all of their big players on the roster. Between Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Ryan Malone, Mattias Ohlund and Pavel Kubina, that's $30 million, or roughly half of next season's salary cap, depending on the final cap number.

In addition to Stamkos, one of the team's playoff Stars, Teddy Purcell, will also be a restricted free agent while the biggest playoff surprise of them all, Sean Bergenheim, will be unrestricted. Same goes for Simon Gagne.

With their midseason acquisition of Dwayne Roloson, the Bolts helped solve what had been a bit of a riddle for them in net. In relief of him, Mike Smith was very solid. Both of them, too, are scheduled to hit the open market as unrestricted free agents. After dealing with Stamkos, that'll be the second priority, figuring out who will be minding the net.

This season, Yzerman showed a bit of a golden touch so early in his career leading the Lightning, so we'll learn further this offseason if he's as good as gold. The Lightning still have a solid foundation, but seeing if he can lock up the franchise cornerstone and getting the players to fit the mold will be something worth watching in the coming months. The good news is the team does start the offseason with a little bit of room under the current cap.

-- Brian Stubits

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 12:52 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Mar 27, 2007
Posted on: May 28, 2011 5:25 pm

Lightning have decisions to make to keep cracking

I am a lifetime Bruins fan, and let me say , the Lightning I thought were a slight favorite in this series, of course I disagreed at first, but they showed alot. It was a really good series that went back and forth, and proved to be very exciting. My hats off to them, they are a good club. I think with Steve Yzerman in the front office, Ironically like the Bruins getting Neely in the front office, it is only going to get better for them. They are well coached, have great talent, and play with heart. But i think they will lose some of the core to the fact that some players are getting near the end of their careers. That being said, I am glad of course that the Bruins prevailed, but it was not easy by any means, Tampa is going to be a top team in the east for some time and I hope it makes for more great series like this one.

Since: May 28, 2011
Posted on: May 28, 2011 3:52 pm

Lightning have decisions to make to keep cracking

The Lightening were as good as Boston. Both teams put a great show on. Unfortunately, Tampa lost. But, I loved watching Stamkos.

Since: Jan 20, 2008
Posted on: May 28, 2011 12:01 pm

Lightning have decisions to make to keep cracking

I have lived in Boston my whole and been a loyal fan to all my hometeams. Most people that jumped on the Bruins bandwagon have said things like tamps bay wasnt that good and they are over-rated and so on. But i have to say that i think Tampa Bay is a great hockey team, And they most likely will be for years to come. I think they have a nice core in management and star players and they deserve more credit then people are giving them for the series they just played, This series is why playoff hockey is top notch there wasnt a time in this whole series i thought the bruins had it wrapped up until the horn blew in game 7. It will be very scary if they go out and find a top notch goalie. Tampa Bay fans should be very excited about the future of there hockey club.

Since: Apr 16, 2008
Posted on: May 28, 2011 8:59 am

Lightning have decisions to make to keep cracking

Inexcusable. Had a total brain lapse. Embarassed

Since: Apr 22, 2008
Posted on: May 28, 2011 7:37 am

Lightning have decisions to make to keep cracking

Brian Stubits, you really showed an unbelievable amount of ignorance when you mention Dan Ellis being under contract for Tampa.  Can you even explain how that happens?  That is like a dentist pulling a tooth when he should have been filling a cavity, like the President stating he can't wait to meet with Ronald Reagan to discuss middle east peace plans, and like a sports writer not knowing the roster of team he is writing about.  Oh wait, that just happened.  Good job!  

Since: Jul 24, 2010
Posted on: May 28, 2011 6:31 am

Lightning have decisions to make to keep cracking

Dan Ellis ????? He was traded to Anaheim months ago ;(

Since: Feb 26, 2008
Posted on: May 28, 2011 3:34 am

Lightning have decisions to make to keep cracking

The Lightning will do what it takes to sign the stars...Vincent LeCavalier, Martin St Loius, and Steven Stamkos.  Mike Smith will resign and so will Roloson.  Simon Gagne, Teddy Purcell and Sean Bergenheim will be the deciding factors.

Go Lightning and wait until next year!


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