A Look at the Lightning

Dobber Sports

2010-06-13

Lecavalier

 

Tampa Bay actually had a pretty decent campaign. Certainly better than anyone had expected. But that wasn't good enough to save the jobs of GM Brian Lawton and Coach Rick Tocchet. A new owner is in town and Jeff Vinik saw the problem right away. Uncertainty, instability – an overall culture of dysfunction. So while Tocchet did an acceptable job as a new coach in not only getting a team closer to the postseason, but also turning Steve Downie into quite a player – he was part of the slate that needed to be cleaned. No real complaints about Lawton either, but to change a culture the change must be sweeping and it must start at the top. So what does all this mean in fantasy circles?

 

Vinik brought in Steve Yzerman to be the new GM. He knew what he wanted and he went after it. Yzerman was actually rumoured to have turned the job down but Vinik kept bringing him back to the table until he convinced him. Normally, I frown upon ex-jocks taking up a management position – a position that needs business strength more than hockey expertise – but in this case, it was the right move. While still very new to the business of managing a team, Yzerman is probably going to be a fine GM. After all, he trained under the best in Detroit under Ken Holland. But more importantly, Yzerman brings stability and respect.

 

The current players on the roster feel better about the future. Unrestricted free agents will take the team seriously. Other general managers are clear on who they are negotiating with. The chain of command is clear. Yzerman would not change cities like that without being given carte blanche. Fans in Florida will notice. This will absolutely make a difference.

 

So with the culture and the future now positive and stable, how will they move forward? With a salary cap increase, the team is looking at about $22.5 million in cap space for next season. The signed players fill the following depth chart as such:

 

Martin St. Louis – Steven Stamkos – RFA

Ryan Malone – Vincent Lecavalier – space

Space – space – RFA

Todd Fedoruk – space – space

 

Andrej Meszaros – Victor Hedman

Mattias Ohlund – Matt Walker

RFA – space

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