Monday, September 28, 2009

Lightning Sit At 29 Players

On Saturday, the Lightning cut 11 players from their training camp line-up to bring their active roster down to 29 players. Among those cut were forwards Dana Tyrell & Paul Szczechura, defensemen Ty Wishart & Vladimir Mihalik and goaltender Dustin Tokarski. Junior prospect, Carter Ashton, was sent back to his junior team after turning quite a few heads at camp this year. He'll be one to watch in the 2011 season, for sure.

Martin St. LouisMattias OhlundAntero Niittymaki
Vincent LecavalierLukas KrajicekMike Smith
Steven StamkosAndrej Meszaros
Ryan MaloneMatt Walker
Alex TanguayPaul Ranger
Stephane VeilleuxDavid Hale
Jeff HalpernMatt Lashoff
Todd FedorukKurtis Foster
Adam HallMatt Smaby
Drew MillerMike Lundin
Steve DownieVictor Hedman
Ryan Craig

Brandon Bochenski

Zenon Konopka

James Wright

Brett McLean**

The blueline in Tampa Bay is the mostly hotly contested position on the team at the moment, with a number of good candidates for jobs. Victor Hedman (pictured) has been pushed into a tight situation, but from the reports that have been published and the word from interviews, is that he is doing a great job and should fit in well. That really bodes well for the future of the franchise, on the ice, that is. Now, the question is, who is going to get cut from that long list of defenders?

Up front, the Lightning will be in great shape, as Steven Stamkos looks to have taken that World Championships experience and really stuffed it underneath his confidence to boost it up a bit. He's looking like the real deal now, playing with the big two in Tampa. The addition of Alex Tanguay should also keep the Lightning in good scoring spirits this season.

Salary CapEven with 29 players on their active roster, two of which I don't have cap numbers for (Brett McLean is a professional tryout and James Wright's entry-level cap hit has not been disclosed), they are sitting at $52 million against the cap, which is a great number to be sitting at this early in the season. At least six cuts will have to be made, so now the Lightning look more like a budget team, with superstars, than a team that is spending money like there is no tomorrow. That's a scary situation for the other teams in the Southeast Division.

It's hard not to get a little excited when you're talking about the Lightning. It looks like a good year to invest in some of the team's top talent, even in the first round. After a good preseason for Vincent Lecavalier, it could be fairly safe to assume that he's ready to carry this team on his shoulders and lead by example. He is now definitely worthy of a top ten pick in your pool draft.

No comments: