Tampa’s Big Three Paying Big Dividends

Dobber Sports


st.louis, lecavalier, richards

This column, and all of Dobber's columns, can also be found at The Hockey News, ESPN.com and MSN.ca. Originally published April 18.


Most NHL playoff drafts did not involve a heck of a lot of participants tripping over themselves to try to pick up some Tampa Bay Lightning players, but those that did manage to ‘settle’ for some in the latter rounds are pretty happy.



With the Lightning up two games to one in their best of seven series against New Jersey and with legendary netminder Martin Brodeur actually looking like a mere mortal out there, we could be looking at an upset. Winning the series would mean that the team will likely play about 12 games this postseason (assuming they don’t repeat with a second upset in Round 2). If you give 12 games to the likes of Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards, you make the lucky owners that drafted them last week absolutely thrilled.

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Give those players 12 games and they’ll give you at least 15 points – even in the postseason. Considering that only 18 players reached that plateau last spring, that turns out to be pretty good return on a sixth or seventh-round pick wouldn’t you say?

Rest assured, the superstar trio will reach that mark. Currently, they have combined for 16 points and a plus-9 in three games. Also consider – they’re playing 24 to 26 minutes a game. How can a team match that with the likes of John Madden, Jay Pandolfo, et al.? To give your checking line similar minutes means that your No.1 line gets 15 minutes. That just doesn’t work. I know this because that is exactly what the Devils are doing and look at where it’s got them…

Farm Report: Bobby Ryan’s American League stint, although pretty decent last year, was absolutely fantastic this time around. The Anaheim Ducks future power forward garnered three goals and nine points in eight games, with six penalty minutes and he was a plus-2. He was a runner-up for rookie-of-the-month honors. Expect a cup of coffee with the big club next season and an NHL regular in two…