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 Stamkos||Pavel Kubina||Dan Ellis|
|Martin St. Louis||Randy Jones||Mike Smith|
|Vincent Lecavalier||Victor Hedman|
|Ryan Malone||Brett Clark|
|Steve Downie||Mike Lundin|
|Simon Gagne||Mattias Ohlund|
|Mike Angelidis||Mark Barberio||Cedrik Desjardins|
|Carter Ashton||Radko Gudas||Jaroslav Janus|
|Alex Berry||Scott Jackson||Dustin Tokarski|
|Brett Connolly||Vladimir Mihalik|
|Chris Durno||Kevin Quick|
|Mitch Fadden||Mathieu Roy|
|Matt Fornataro||Matt Smaby|
|Mitch Fritz||Michael Vernace|
|Stefano Giliati||Ty Wishart|
The 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.