Thursday, September 16, 2010

Training Camp Roster Set for the Bolts

The Steve Yzerman signature is starting to show on this Tampa Bay Lightning team and it will get a nice polish as it runs through training camp.

By my count today, I have a Summer roster of 19 players on top of the table heading into camp, with a couple of forwards and a defenseman position theoretically open, plus some possible bubble action.  The team has added some more puck movers, depth down the middle and a different look to the goaltending tandem.

In the training camp group, there is a good combination of NHL experience and youthful exuberance to take from, which should make the Lightning a lot more competitive in the wide open spaces of the Southeast Division.  With a brand new coach with some brand new ideas leading the way, I think its hard to second-guess what direction they will go when plucking out some of these fringe players.

Steven StamkosPavel KubinaDan Ellis
Martin St. LouisRandy JonesMike Smith
Vincent LecavalierVictor Hedman
Ryan MaloneBrett Clark
Steve DownieMike Lundin
Simon GagneMattias Ohlund
Domenic Moore
Sean Bergenheim
Teddy Purcell
Nate Thompson
Paul Szczechura
Mike AngelidisMark BarberioCedrik Desjardins
Carter AshtonRadko GudasJaroslav Janus
Alex BerryScott JacksonDustin Tokarski
Brett ConnollyVladimir Mihalik
Chris DurnoKevin Quick
Mitch FaddenMathieu Roy
Matt FornataroMatt Smaby
Mitch FritzMichael Vernace
Stefano GiliatiTy Wishart
Adam Hall
Johan Harju
Alex Hutchings
Blair Jones
Tim Marks
Richard Panik
Eric Perrin
Niklas Persson
Marc Pouliot
Juraj Simek
Dana Tyrell
James Wright

Salary CapThe Lightning are in the middle of the pack when it comes to annual salary cap projections with their Summer roster above.  With 19 spots taken and two buyouts, Tampa currently sits at $51.4 million against the cap, with two or three spots left to fill in.  Keeping a team of big names like this in the middle of the pack, cap-wise, is a pretty solid achievement, but the 2012 season may start to get a little challenging with Steven Stamkos now working on the final year of his entry-level deal.

It may be very wise to invest in some Tampa Bay Lightning players this year, because there looks to be all sorts of possible combinations that are pleasing to the eyes and ears of many.  If the team decides to re-visit the Stamkos/St. Louis/Malone line to decent results, Lecavalier could see Downie and Gagne and there you would have two solid scoring lines to start the year.  Of course, this is just off the top of my head and since I'm not the coach, I won't say for sure, but it still looks mighty appealing.  I like the Lightning for lots of scoring, which could translate into plenty of winning... I'll be bumping up my projections, I believe.

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