After being retired from the game for ten-plus years, the Tampa Bay Lightning really should retire the number of former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have a lot to be excited for in the upcoming 2016-17 season. While the Lightning may not have a new banner to hang this season, there is plenty more for fans to cheer about,
The team has been able to re-sign a number of their core members to long-term contracts, including Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, the team has been kept mostly intact from their successful 2015-16 season, and the Lightning will be welcoming home a fan favorite on October 18th.
As most fans here in the Bolts Nation know by now, the Tampa Bay Lightning will be honoring former Bolts captain Vincent Lecavalier, welcoming him home to Tampa Bay, on October the 18th as the Lightning take on their in-state rivals, the Florida Panthers.
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Initially, it was believed Vincent Lecavalier was coming home to the Sunshine State in order for his Number Four jersey to be retired and forever live in the rafters of the Amalie Arena. Unfortunately, this was not the case. It’s still awesome, but a jersey retirement would’ve been nice for a player who spent a majority of his career in a Lightning jersey.
While we are on the topic of jersey retirements, let’s have a discussion about another Tampa Bay Lightning player who should have their jersey hanging high above the ice at Amalie Arena, former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk.
Dave Andreychuk is one of the most easily recognizable faces in Tampa Bay Lightning history. For newer fans, he is a part of the Fox Sports Sun broadcasting team who offers his unique insight during different points of the game.
To fans who have been with the Lightning organization a little longer, he is remembered for something much different. To older Lightning fans, he is the captain who helped the Tampa Bay Lightning capture their first-ever Stanley Cup in the 2003-04 season. This was the season that involved the heart-stopping Game 7 victory over the Calgary Flames on June 7, 2004.
Of course, there is much more to Dave Andreychuk than the spectacular season of 2003-04. Dave Andreychuk spent a total of 23 seasons in the National Hockey League; the first of which dates all the way back to the 1982-83 season he played with the Buffalo Sabres.
Of those 23 seasons, he spent the last four with the Tampa Bay Lightning. This number would have been five seasons had the NHL not lost the entire 2004-05 season to the NHL Lockout. On the bright side, the Lightning got to keep the Cup for another year. Unfortunately, fans also lost out on a whole season of hockey.
Over the course of those aforementioned four seasons, Andreychuk played in a total of 278 games with the Bolts. In that amount of time, Andy was able to score 68 goals and 61 assists for a total of 129 points.
These numbers pale in comparison to the numbers Andreychuk was able to score over the course of his 23-season career. Over the course of his entire career, Dave Andreychuk played in a total of 1,639 games. In that amount of time, the former Lightning captain scored 640 goals and 698 assists for a total of 1,338 points.
Just because Dave Andreychuk decided to hang up his skates doesn’t mean he’s done with the game of hockey. Andreychuk currently serves as the Vice President of Corporate and Community Affairs for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Let’s just say, if Tampa Bay Lightning fans get their way, he won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
If Dave Andreychuk isn’t someone who deserves to have their jersey retired, then we don’t know who does.
Until this season, we could see the minor complication with the situation. You see…Dave Andreychuk wore the number 25 during his time on the ice. Until the end of last season, the number was occupied by former Lightning defenseman Matt Carle.
As most Lightning fans know by now, the Tampa Bay Lightning elected to buy out the remaining time on Matt Carle’s contract and he is now a member of the Nashville Predators. This leaves Andreychuk’s number free and clear to hang from the rafters.
We think what we are trying to say here is, the Tampa Bay Lightning needs to get on the ball and get this done post-haste. There is a first time for everything, and this is the perfect opportunity to make this first happen.
Will the Tampa Bay Lightning retire Dave Andreychuk’s number in the near future? That remains to be seen. It’s been 10 seasons since Andreychuk hung up his skates. If there was ever a time to make the move, we would think now would be that moment.