Tag Archive | Tampa Bay Lightning

2014 NHL Free Agency Preview

By Brett Malamud

Forwards

Thomas Vanek- 30 Years Old- LW (2013-14: 27 G, 41 A, 68 Pts.)

Possible Destinations: Wild

Vanek has narrowed his list to “4 or 5 teams” and I’d be shocked if the final decision wasn’t Minnesota.

 

Jarome Iginla- 36 Years Old- RW (2013-14: 30 G, 31 A, 61 Pts.)

Possible Destinations: Bruins, Wild, Canucks, Red Wings, Lightning

Unless Iginla decides that he’ll take a pay cut to return to Boston, I’m not quite sure how the Bruins will find salary cap space to sign him. This should be an exciting bidding war.

 

Paul Stastny- 28 Years Old- C (2013-14: 25 G, 35 A, 60 Pts.)

Possible Destinations: Blues, Predators, Maple Leafs, Red Wings, Avalanche

Speaking of bidding wars, the most pursued free agent out there is none other than Paul Stastny. Stastny grew up in St. Louis and so the Blues are certainly intriguing. I think that they’ll make a good offer. Colorado would like to keep him but could very well be outbid by a team that’ll overpay for him.

Paul Stastny will be reeling in the offers when free agency opens (Via Getty)

Paul Stastny will be reeling in the offers when free agency opens (Via Getty)

 

Matt Moulson- 30 Years Old- LW (2013-14: 23 G, 28 A, 51 Pts.)

Possible Destinations: Islanders, Sabres, Senators, Stars, Predators

Let’s get this out of the way: Don’t doubt a Moulson return to Long Island. The 30 year old still remains close with one of his best friends John Tavares. Moulson loved being an Islander. Isles GM Garth Snow made his mistake when he dealt Moulson to Buffalo for Thomas Vanek, who told the team a few months later that he wouldn’t re-sign. I’m sure Tavares will be chirping in Snow’s ear.

 

Mike Ribeiro- 34 Years Old- C (2013-14: 16 G, 31 A, 52 Pts.)

Possible Destinations: Flames, Blackhawks, Predators

The Coyotes bought out Ribeiro for his behavior off the ice. Should be interesting to see who will take a chance on him.

 

Daniel Alfredsson- 41 Years Old- RW (2013-14: 18 G, 31 A, 49 Pts.)

Possible Destinations: Red Wings

Alfredsson has indicated that his two options are the Detroit Red Wings and retirement.

 

Defensemen

Matt Niskanen- 27 Years Old- (2013-14: 10 G, 36 A, 46 Pts.)

Possible Destinations: Wild, Islanders, Capitals, Lightning,

Niskanen is the top all around defenseman on the market in my opinion. The Lightning cleared a ton of cap space and I think signing Niskanen is the reason why they did.

 

Dan Boyle- 37 Years Old- (2013-14: 12 G, 24 A, 36 Pts.)

Possible Destinations: Islanders, Lightning, Rangers, Canadiens, Red Wings, Maple Leafs

Boyle’s rights were traded to the Islanders, but they couldn’t nail down a deal so he’ll hit the FA market. His age will effect his contract so don’t expect anyone to break the bank on Boyle.

 

Christian Ehrhoff- 31 Years Old- (2013-14: 6 G, 27 A, 33 Pts.)
Possible Destinations: Islanders, Lightning, Red Wings

Ehrhoff was bought out of his remaining seven years of his 10-year deal with Buffalo. Detroit showed a lot of interest at the trade deadline, so keep an eye on them.

 

Michael Del Zotto- 24 Years Old- (2013-14: 3 G, 13 A, 16 Pts.)

Possible Destinations: Islanders, Maple Leafs

Del Zotto was not given a qualifying offer by the Nashville Predators, making him an unrestricted free agent. The question with Del Zotto is: can this be a good value pickup? He won’t get paid as much as the others, so a low spending team like the Islanders may take a good look at him.

 

Brooks Orpik- 33 Years Old- (2013-14: 2 G, 1 A, 13 Pts.)

Possible Destinations: Islanders, Capitals, Blues, Sabres

If you notice, the Islanders were listed on each of the defensemen’s free agents possible destinations. Yes, they need a defenseman and so they’ll look at each one. I believe that they should sign Orpik but don’t think they will. He has a blistering shot and is a force on defense. A hard hitter, Orpik will be a good fit wherever he goes.

Goaltenders

Jonas Hiller- 32 Years Old- (2013-14: 29-13, 5 SO, 2.48 GAA)

Possible Destinations: Lightning, Jets, Canucks

This is a rough spot for Hiller here, sharing the market with Brodeur, Miller and Nabokov. But he could go to a team such as the Lightning and Jets who have a shaky situation when it comes to a plan B in net.

 

Martin Brodeur- 42 Years Old- (2013-14: 19-14, 3 SO, 2.51 GAA)

Possible Destinations: Maple Leafs, Devils, Lightning, Bruins, Blackhawks, Penguins

Instead of retiring, Brodeur will explore his options outside of New Jersey. I don’t expect him to be signed on the first day of free agency.

 

Ryan Miller- 33 Years Old- (2013-14: 15-22, 3 SO, 2.72 GAA)

Possible Destinations: Canucks, Sharks

Miller already met with Vancouver officials and my belief is that he’ll be signed by them.

 

Evgeni Nabokov- 38 Years Old- (2013-14: 15-14, 4 SO, 2.74 GAA)

Possible Destinations: Islanders, Capitals, Flyers

Another interesting signing will be Nabokov. He wasn’t close on a deal with the Isles and so he’ll go out to free agency. The Capitals need a backup for Braden Holtby. Philly is over the cap and so I think Nabokov will end up with the Caps.


Brett Malamud is a Computer Science Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy

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NHL Power Rankings

 By Mike Basile

1)    Chicago Blackhawks (20-4-4, 44 points) Currently on a six game win streak, this team continues to get hotter and hotter and are a sure pick for number one on the power rankings.

The Blackhawks lead the league in goals per game, led by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews (Via Sports Talk Florida)

The Blackhawks lead the league in goals per game, led by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews (Via Sports Talk Florida)

2)    San Jose Sharks (18-3-5, 41 points) Also on a nice win streak, the Sharks have won five in a row. With only three regulation losses, they are a very dangerous team.

3)    St Louis Blues (18-5-3, 39 points) With one of the top goal scores in the league (Alexander Steen) and a great goaltending duo, this team rounds out the top three.

4)    Colorado Avalanche (19-6-0, 38 points) Still a surprise team to many but with great young talent, this team’s hot start does not come as a surprise to me.

5)    Boston Bruins (18-7-2, 38 points) They are the most consistent team in the league in my opinion. They come to play every night and with great goaltending, are usually in the win column.

6)    Anaheim Ducks (18-7-4, 40 points) After a hot start, Anaheim hit a little cold spell, but I am not worried that they will be stuck in it long.

7)    Los Angeles Kings (17-7-4, 38 points) They are still playing good hockey even with their all-star goalie out until Christmas. Dustin Brown has shown true leadership with this team.

8)    Pittsburgh Penguins (18-9-1, 37 points) Usually you would expect to see this team around the top three, but with some inconsistency this season they have dropped to number eight.

9)    Phoenix Coyotes (15-7-4, 34 points) This team fights hard for wins and is backed by some very solid goaltending.

10) Tampa Bay Lightning (16-9-1, 33 points) In my opinion one of the most impressive teams this year. Without Stamkos and still way over .500 is a nice surprise and so they finish the top ten.

11) Detroit Red Wings (14-7-7, 35 points) They’re on a four game win streak right now and beat the Islanders for the first time since 2003 this week. With play like this, they can shoot up the rankings quickly.

12) Vancouver Canucks (14-10-5, 33 points) It’s been an up and down season so far for the Canucks. If they do not find consistency, they will not find any success.

13) Minnesota Wild (16-8-5, 37 points) With a rough end to the month a top ten team in points will be found out of my top ten.

14)  Montreal Canadiens (16-9-3, 35 points) 7-1-2 in their last 10 and quickly rising in the standings. They can crack the top ten soon if they continue to perform at this rate.

15) Washington Capitals (14-11-2, 30 points) With a big comeback win against the division rival Islanders this weekend, the Capitals won two straight and improve to .500 on the road.

16) Dallas Stars (12-9-4, 28 points) A team that I thought would be a playoff threat with great goaltending has been disappointing thus far.

17) Nashville Predators (13-11-3, 29 points) A -13 goals against is not beneficial for any team, but especially not a team that prides itself on defense.

18) Toronto Maple Leafs (14-10-3, 31 points) Toronto is considerably low on my rankings because I expected a lot from this team and quite frankly am disappointed in their overall play.

19) Philadelphia Flyers (12-12-2, 26 points) The team still has some pieces to connect, but Steve Mason is the biggest piece and he is in place.

20) New York Rangers (14-14-0, 28 points) A team that can usually have Lundqvist as a backbone did not start him for the second straight game last night in favor of Cam Talbot, who has been good in net. If Henrik gets going, they could have a scary two-headed monster.

21) Winnipeg Jets (13-12-4, 30 points) I usually do not like to call out one player, but the Jets expected big things from Ondrej Pavelec and have got pretty much nothing from him.

22) New Jersey Devils (11-12-5, 27 points) Win one lose one is not a good attitude to have in the NHL and it seems like the Devils have been playing like that all year so far.

23) Ottawa Senators (10-13-4, 24 points) It seems like their offense and defense can never click on the same night and that has resulted in a poor start for the Sens.

24) Columbus Blue Jackets (10-14-3, 23 points) A team that just missed the playoffs last season that had high expectations has struggled to say the least to begin this season.

25) Carolina Hurricanes (10-12-5, 25 points) Carolina has too many questions and no answers on the blue line. 57 goals for also does not help a struggling team.

26) Edmonton Oilers (9-17-2, 20 points) The best of the worst! They begin my bottom five in the league and this young team will NOT win games with poor defense and weak goaltending.

27) Calgary Flames- (9-13-4, 22 points) As expected, Calgary is in the bottom tier of the league. 3-5-2 in their last ten is not making matters any better.

28) New York Islanders (8-15-4, 20 points) After a good start to the season, everything went downhill after an injury to Lubomir Visnovsky. The team has lost six straight now and is treading water to stay alive.

29) Florida Panthers (7-15-5, 19 points) A team that is still in rebuild mode has Tim Thomas leading the way but is trying to pave the way for goaltender Jacob Markstrom. If there is a bright spot for this team, Aleksander Barkov looks great!

30) Buffalo Sabres (6-20-2, 14 points) Not much has to be said when your goal differential is -37. Actually there is one thing, DRAFT PARTY!

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Mike Basile is a sophomore at York College Of Pennsylvania. He is a huge sports fan, and when it comes to hockey maybe considered a little obsessive. Giving insight on the Islanders and all things hockey. You can follow him on twitter at @mikeybasile1

After Losing A Superstar, Can The Bolts Bounce Back?

By Mike Basile

The Monday Matinee between the Bruins and the Lightning ended in a 3-0 loss for the Lightning. The real loss today took place in the second period of the game when Boston’s Dougie Hamilton sent Steven Stamkos stumbling into the net. Even the Boston crowd froze as they watched as Stamkos’ leg bent awkwardly and he laid on the ice, riving in pain. The unimaginable for Stamkos and the Lightning became a harsh reality when the stretcher was brought out onto the ice, and he was taken off. The question is: can this team carry on with the loss of their superstar?

A look at the injury to Steven Stamkos (Via Sporting News and NESN)

A look at the injury to Steven Stamkos (Via Sporting News and NESN)

Now with Stamkos out indefinitely, this team needs to find a way to cope without him. This is not going to be an easy task, and they may need some time to adjust. They just lost their scorer, and a player who was on his way to an MVP caliber season. Stamkos had 23 points in 17 games and was a great plus 11. Realistically, you can’t just go out and find another Stamkos. Right now, the Lightning are leading the Atlantic Division with 24 points. With the Lightning playing great hockey, I think they will continue their winning ways without their leader in uniform.

When you lose a guy like Stamkos, you would think that the key is to go and find someone to replace him. However, I disagree. I think that now with Stamkos out, Ben Bishop will be the key for this team. The 26-year-old Bishop has been great this season in net, with a 2.12 goals against average. He will have to be the backbone of this team. His 92.7 % save percentage also tells me that he really could be the best option between the pipes. If Lindback does not step up when he plays, Bishop will have a heavy load to carry the rest of the way.

I know you guys probably hear veteran leadership all the time, but this Lightning team really needs that now. When you lose a superstar like Stamkos, you have to keep the team at high hopes, and that will be the job of Martin St. Louis. Not only is he the second leading scorer on the team, he has to be a vocal leader in the locker room. Matt Carle will also have to step up as a defensive leader for this Lightning team. A little bit of leadership to keep this team on its high horse is very important.

Finally, the young guns are going to have to play a big role and it starts on defense with Victor Hedman. Already a plus seven on the season, he needs to keep that up and step up in the scoring category.  Alex Killorn will also need to step up his offensive gameplay, as he has played well early. If he keeps this up, the team will be A-Okay.

At the end of the day, I think the Tampa Bay Lightning will be able to win without Steven Stamkos. I do not think that they will finish first in the Atlantic, but I do think they will end up in the playoffs. This team has solid goaltending and great veteran leadership. If the young guns can play mistake free hockey, Tampa Bay will show everyone they are not a one-man show!

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Mike Basile is a sophomore at York College Of Pennsylvania. He is a huge sports fan, and when it comes to hockey maybe considered a little obsessive. Giving insight on the Islanders and all things hockey. You can follow him on twitter at @mikeybasile1