Tampa Bay Lightning Season Preview

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It was all supposed to go so well, but it didn’t. Such was the story for 2008-09 Tampa Bay Lightning.

In addition to stars like Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, the Bolts brought in Ryan Malone and drafted supposed phenom, Steven Stamkos.

Potent, they said, when describing what the offense might be like. Tough to beat, we’d hear, too. The results, unfortunately, were especially disappointing. Unless you don’t think the bottom of the standings is bad.

What happened to the Tampa Bay Lightning of 2008 represented the notion that names and so-called “stars” aren’t enough. The recipe for success in sports is chemistry. Stars ought to be complemented by second-tier scorers, who ought to be complemented by role players. This applies to the offense as much as the defense.

It wasn’t the case in Tampa Bay.

But there is good news for the Bolts–they’re on their way to building something legitimate.

Stamkos picked up his game in the second half of last season; Victor Hedman, the first round pick this most recent draft, appears to be the real deal; the signing of Mattias Ohlund and the solidifying of the coaching staff should all work out in Tampa’s favor.

They’ve taken the necessary steps to build. It will be imperative for management to realize that success won’t come overnight, i.e. give it a couple of years.

Set the bar lower, in other words.

The problem? Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, among others, might not be on board with that plan. But even that might be alright. If you trade the big shots, you’ll get quality in return. Vinny and Marty have value.

If they are on board with the plan, then Tampa can slowly complement the roster with depth players who can produce.

That’s got to be the approach for the Bolts. It works, folks. There are too many recent examples in the NHL that prove that very idea.

It’s on management now.

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