The Tampa Bay Lightning have ebbed and flowed more viciously than a tide at full moon over the past decade, giving them really high spots in the draft and really low spots. That disparity shows.
Well, we know we have one line that's going to score. The Lightning have centers galore up and down the roster and few actual wingers so we're going to do some position shifting and pair Stamkos with Lecavalier. As for Connolly? The promising young forward gets the benefit of playing with two strong forwards. All three of these guys are still in Tampa Bay.
Two vets and a kid -- and each a centerman. Obviously Richards is going to be the anchor for this line as he has been a consistent point producer throughout his entire career. Langkow brings with him almost 1,100 games worth of experience and at least a little scoring still. But we're stuck pairing an unproven but promising prospect in Namestnikov with them. No pressure, kid.
Between these guys we have 218 career games, 11 goals and 23 assists. This line will certainly struggle to score so it will have to do the other things. Hey, at least we have three able-bodied players with some NHL experience.
Forward scratch: James Wright
It's such a challenge to find forward depth for the Lightning we're going to turn to the AHL for Wright who has spent one game with the Lightning in the past two seasons. In 49 career games in the NHL he has two goals with three assists. Stay healthy, guys.
We could do worse than this pair. Hedman second overall in 2009 and has been in the NHL since. He's going to be an anchor of the defense in Tampa Bay for a long time to come -- in real life, that is. Salvador has been around the block a few times and is a good defender who showed in the postseason that on occasion he can bust out some offense ... just don't expect it.
The Lightning defense is certainly long in the tooth, I'll give them that. Kubina and Hamrlik are most definitely on the tail ends of their careers. Hamrlik is the more interesting of the two considering he was the franchise's first ever draft pick, going No. 1 overall in 1992. Kubina was a different story, being selected in the 7th round in 1996. Combined we have more than 2,300 games here.
Defensive Scratch: Mike Lundin
Now with the Wild, Lundin only played in 17 games last season but in his career has 241 games under his belt. At least we have a serviceable player waiting in the wings. It would be great to be able to put Paul Ranger on this corps, though.
If you thought the Lightning have been hurting in real life in between the pipes, just take a look here. Tokarski got the callup this past season in a pinch and had some solid showings but definite didn't convince people he was ready for the NHL. Well now he has to be. Ramo? He's busy making bloopers in the KHL but he's all we've got.