Hockey World Blog Season Previews 2010: Tampa Bay Lightning

Key Offseason Losses: Antero Nittymaki, Alex Tanguy, Ryan Craig, Kurtis Foster

Key Offseason Additions: Dan Ellis, Simon Gagne, Dominic Moore, Pavel Kubina, Randy Jones, Brett Clark

Last Season Ranking: 12th in East


Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis have been the foundation of this team for several years now, but last season, former number one draft pick Steve Stamkos gave Lightning fans 51 reasons to hope for a better and brighter future. In only his second year in the league, Stamkos tied Sidney Crosby for the league lead in goals with 51 and added 44 assists for 95 total points. These are the three players who will lead the charge again this season.

steven-stamkosStill, what hindered this team was their lack of depth. Newly crowned general manager Steve Yzerman quickly took care of those issues with several decisive moves. On offense, Yzerman added forward Simon Gagne through a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers. Gagne will help give Tampa Bay two sturdy scoring lines and will certainly help on the power play. Although injury-prone, Gagne is capable of producing at nearly a point-per-game pace during the season.

Both Ryan Malone and Steve Downie will both be called upon to continue their physical style of play this season, but both players are capable of producing offensively as well. Malone notched 21 goals last year while Downie tallied 22 and also added 208 penalty minutes and a plus-14 as well. Both of these players not only give Tampa a physical prowess, but they help give the team that additional scoring depth that will help them win.

Dominic Moore, a free agent signing, will not only bring secondary scoring depth to the lineup but he also works hard and has a good defensive game as well – which Tampa sorely needs.


Yzerman made some adjustments on defense as well by adding some grit with the addition of defenseman Pavel Kubina. As a former Stanley Cup winner, Kubina not only lends a veteran presence, but he plays tough and can also chip in 30-40 points per season, which will hopefully help fill the void left by the departed Kurtis Foster. The team also inked blueliners Randy Jones and Brett Clark. Both players have been in the NHL long enough to help bring some experience to the team while giving Tampa more options on the blue line.

Sophomore Victor Hedman, the second-overall draft choice during the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, should benefit from the experience of an entire NHL season under his belt. Another season under the wing of veteran defenseman Mattius Ohlund should help Hedman continue to improve rapidly.


It goes without saying that goaltending has been nothing short of a mess in Tampa in recent years, which is why signing Dan Ellis was essentially the first move that Yzerman made as general manager. With the departure of Antero Nittymaki, the team needed a reliable goaltender and Ellis will hopefully fit the bill. While his stats haven’t been spectacular the past several seasons, he has been relatively consistent and should be a good addition to Tampa’s lineup. Hopefully some healthy competition stirs up between Ellis and backup Mike Smith, causing both players to work hard and play their best.

Season Outlook:

A lot of the pieces seem to be falling into place for the Tampa Bay Lightning and they very well could prove to be one of the most improved teams this season. General manager Steve Yzerman made it a point to add depth to the roster and sign a steady number one goaltender. The team’s additions may be enough to sneak them into the playoffs this season, but if nothing else, the moves made by Yzerman should give the team the foundation to build a contender in the years to come.


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