The New-Look Lightning – ‘They Aren’t the Flyers’

Dobber Sports

2008-07-27

Vincent Lecavalier

 

( cliquez ici pour la version française )

 

In 2007 the team that underwent the biggest transformation was Philadelphia – by a long shot. A lot of experts still picked them to miss the playoffs (for the record, in Dobber’s 2006-07 Fantasy Guide I picked the Flyers to get in), but we all saw what happened. Not only did they get in, but they also went to the semi-final.

This year the team that has made the biggest strides is the Tampa Bay Lightning. This team took Philadelphia’s formula for success and, well, they butchered it.

 

The Flyers landed goaltender Martin Biron and Scott Upshall towards the end of the 2006-07 season, while the Lightning landed Mike Smith and Jussi Jokinen. Good move, but that is where the similarity ends.

The Flyers added rookie Steve Downie, a talented, but somewhat undisciplined forward. TB will be adding Steven Stamkos – an all-world talent. So far so good…but then the bottom drops out.

Philadelphia acquired the best free agent on the market in Daniel Briere; they added a top defenseman in Kimmo Timonen and a power forward in Scott Hartnell. Then GM Paul Holmgren pushed the stop button. His team was set.

In Tampa however, somebody jabbed at the machine with a screwdriver and knocked that stop button all to hell. Sure, they added a power forward in Ryan Malone. Then they added a scoring winger in Radim Vrbata. Both were good moves, now where is that stop button?

Gary Roberts, Mark Recchi, Olaf Kolzig, Andrew Hutchinson, Brandon Bochenski, Janne Niskala, Evgeny Artyukhin comes back, ditto for Vinnie Prospal, Adam Hall and David Koci. Oh, and they traded their top defenseman and minute muncher Dan Boyle for Matt Carle and Ty Wishart.

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Individually, each of these deals are sound. Adding a veteran in Recchi is smart. Adding a dressing room presence in Roberts is smart. They need Artyukhin’s toughness and hustle. Prospal clicks with Lecavalier