Thursday, April 17, 2008

Too Much O in TB?

Well, since this blog site has everything from the Rays to the Magic, why not a little Tampa Bay Lightning insight every now and then?

The Bolts have always been one of my top five favorite teams, and they will start next season as my number four team (behind the Panthers, Canucks and Sabres). That being said, I've never gone out of my way to watch the Lightning play. However, I do get the pleasure of seeing them play our beloved Panthers eight times a season thanks to Gary Bettman's genius schedule *insert sarcasm*.

Now that we've got that out of the way, I'll get to why I'm writing this. The Lightning hold the number one pick of the NHL draft this June (wow, is it just me or is this number one pick thing a pattern in Florida?). The consensus number one draft pick is Steven Stamkos, a Center with raw talent. This past season, he netted 58 goals and 47 assists for 105 points for the Sarnia Sting. Not every day you'll see an article about why he should NOT be picked number one.

Today is one of those days.

The offensive heavy Lightning need everything but another scoring threat. Despite the losses of Vaclav Prospal and Brad Richards, the Bolts still have way too much salary tied up in Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier. With the next three picks of the draft expected to be franchise defenseman (Drew Doughty, Zach Bogosian, and Alex Pietrangelo), the Lightning could really do themselves some favors by trading down a few spots, picking up another early draft choice, and grabbing one of these defenseman.

The Lightning finally look to have solid goaltending for the first time since they had Nik Khabibulin, with the acquisition of Mike Smith from Dallas and the development of Kari Ramo. Tampa will never be short in the offensive department. All they have left to do is make their defense less, well, offensive. One of these three players could go a long way in doing so.

A solid draft could help the Bolts get back to the Cup before anybody could possibly dream.


ASponge said...

Yes, let's get some more Lightning coverage on here. Lighting does strike more than once, I believe.

Jay Warman said...

While the Bolts may have too many scorers, a top scorer is exactly what the Panthers need.

Horton, Weiss, Jokinen, Zednik, and Booth are all good ... just not great.

We need an Ovechkin, Crosby or St. Louis. But then again, so does everybody else.

Imber said...

The Panthers absolutely need a top scorer. They have pretty much everything but. They need to go after a Brian Rolston or Marian Hossa in free agency.

Bryce Adams said...

Kudos Imber, you are very close to being on the money. But yesterday on Lightning Hockey Night with Matt Samon, they had one of the leading scouts in the business (Steve, something) and he said they would be crazy not to take Stamkos. Especially since Marty's contract only has a couple years left. And trust me, they won't resign him at 35.

Imber said...

Yeah, I mean, I won't be the least bit surprised to see them take him. And ultimately it very well could be the right move. That team needs defense though.

ASponge said...

With one marquee scorer, say hello to the Florida Panthers, 2008-09 Southeast Champions.