StevenStamkos is a truly elite player in the NHL and the Lightning's present and future. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

2013 Season Preview - Tampa Bay Lightning

Last Season – Tampa floundered defensively last season, as they went 38-36-8 and finished 10th in the Eastern Conference.

Saying GoodbyeDwayne Roloson, Bruno Gervais, Mike Commodore, Brett Clark, Ryan Shannon, Brandon Segal

Saying HelloAnders Lindback, Matt Carle, Sami Salo, Matt Taormina

Ready to Step In – Cory Conacher had 39 goals and 80 points in the AHL last season.  Although not big by NHL standards, he has a nose for the net and could be a fixture in the top 6 by forcing his way onto the roster.

Look For A Bounce-back Season FromVincent Lecavalier will have to endure a season of rumours that his contract will be bought out when the window opens after the season ends.  However, his production level of 49 points in 60 games last year warrants that conversation and he can silence the critics by bouncing back and being a part of a Lightning resurgence.

Hardware HopefulsSteven Stamkos, Hart, Art Ross, Rocket Richard; Martin St. Louis, Lady Byng;

Upside – The Dwayne Roloson experiment lasted a year too long, and the Lightning gave up more goals than any team in the league last year.  Anders Lindback was brought in to stem that tide and can be nothing but an upgrade on Roloson’s play last year.

Downside – The heart and soul of the Lightning, Martin St. Louis, is now 37 and has some tough miles on his body.  Can he continue to score at nearly a point a game pace through another year?

 

2013 Prognosis – Any team with the upper end offensive power of Steven Stamkos has to be considered a playoff team.  Last year, Roloson almost single-handedly kept them out of the playoffs, and although not a lock, the Bolts will be in the mix, especially in the Southeast Division where any of 4 teams could win the division and a top 3 seed.

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