As I look over the past few seasons for the Tampa Bay Lightning, I realize that they haven’t been total wastes. While I may have been disappointed with the outcomes, I’ve looked further into some of the problems that the Bolts may have been having. There was one thing that stuck out to me a lot and it was the amount of goals scored against within the last two years. During the 2011-12 season, the Bolts allowed 281 goals with Mathieu Garon and Dwayne Roloson in net. 150 goals were allowed during the lockout shortened 2012-13 year, this time with Garon, newcomer Anders Lindback and Cedrick Desjardins between the crease. That’s 431 goals in only 130 games (only 48 games played in 2012-13 because of lockout). However, the goalies are not totally to blame, even if the less mature Lindback bit on the side to side dekes.
If we take a look at the replays, the defense was at fault for a good portion of those plays, allowing teams to get a 2-on-1, 3-on-1, or 3-on-2 advantage. After looking at our defense, I realized where the struggle was coming from: lack of experience. There are three defensemen on the roster that are over the age of 30. Sami Salo is the oldest at 38, followed by Mattias Ohlund at 36 and Eric Brewer at 34. Along with Victor Hedman, these four players have what seem to be the best experience of playing at a top notch level in the NHL A case for Brian Lee and Matt Carle could be made as both have played in the league for a few years with the Lightning. Whether it’s experience the defense lacks or leadership, something has got to be done in order for there to be change in this Lightning team.
Let’s get real, the Lightning need to make some serious moves before the trade deadline. I was surprised that the Bolts didn’t even push for a defenseman in the Free Agent market but the only talented players available were Tomas Kaberle and Roman Hamrlik. Both players show an amazing skill-set and have knowledge of the game but they are aging FAST. Kaberle is 35 and Hamrlik, the current active leader in NHL games played, is 39. I was kind of hoping for someone in the Hedman age range (22 or younger). However, don’t be shocked if the Lightning push hard for a defenseman during the year because they need to.
I know I’m not the only fan who got sick of the defenders getting beat and having to fall back on the goalies. Some teams can get away with that because of their goalie but the Bolts are not one. I don’t know about anyone else but I am excited to see what the front office for the Lightning will do in the way of acquisitions this season.