With training camp rapidly approaching, the Tampa Bay Lightning will have a handful of battles up in the air to round out roster spots. One of the more noteworthy roles up in the air will be the right-shot third pair defenseman. At the moment, it feels like Darren Raddysh is likely to be the man for the job.
After getting called up following last season’s trade deadline, Raddysh played in 17 games and impressed during his chances. His performance even earned him the nod over Zach Bogosian for the third pairing role down the stretch and into the playoffs. The performance from Raddysh was even strong enough to earn him a new contact this summer that will keep him in Tampa for the next three seasons.
The fact that Lightning management was willing to give Raddysh an extension a year early and with only 21 career games under his belt shows that they strongly believe that he is part of their future. Tampa Bay committed to both Raddysh and Nick Perbix who will be fixtures on the Lightning’s right side for the next few years at very manageable cap numbers.
Between getting a new contract and everything we saw from Raddysh last saeason likely points to him being the man for this role. Even if Raddysh wins the job, that likely does not spell the end for Bogosian in Tampa as he will likely still play a large role. Bogosian was called into action for five games in the playoffs last year after Erik Cernak went down. You could do a lot worse with you seventh defenseman than Zach Bogosian.
Injuries, especially on the back-end are inevitable. The Lightning will likely roll into the season with eight defensemen including Bogosian and Haydn Fleury as likely extras. Last year saw Fleury even get into nearly 30 games as an eighth defenseman. In short, the opening night lineup will not be the only combination we see this season.