'08-'09 Tampa Bay Lightning: Just How Good Will They Do?

Bleacher ReportAnalyst IJuly 26, 2008

Olaf Kolzig, Steven Stamkos, Radim Vrbata, Ryan Malone, Gary Roberts, Matthew Carle, Vaclav Prospal, Adam Hall, Ryan Craig, Janne Niskala, Mark Recchi, Brandon Bochenski, Andrew Hutchinson, Chris Gratton, and Ty Wishart.Those are the 15 players that the Tampa Bay Lightning got one way or another this off season so far. They also hired Barry Melrose and fired GM Jay Feaster.

     A lot of people think they they will do great this year because of their giant off season, and a lot of people say that the team actually didn't change much.

I think that the Tampa Bay Lightning will improve, and make the playoffs, but I don't think that they will make the payoffs by a wide margin. What's my reasoning?

Well, they signed a lot of players, but the only players that will make a big difference are Gary Roberts, Ryan Malone, Vaclav Prospal and Mark Recchi. That is just 4 of the 15 players that they received.

     Gary Roberts, Ryan Malone and Mark Recchi should be good with Tampa because they had great chemistry from Pittsburgh.

Also, Vaclav Prospal will be familiar with some players that he played with in his first stint with Tampa.

Radim Vrbata will be decent at best. Yes, he had a good year with Pheonix but going to a team like the Lightning who just signed as many players as they did, he may be a decent third liner, instead of 2nd like he was with Pheonix. Vrbata may have been better staying with a team like Pheonix who will make the playoffs in about another two years compared to Tampa who should this year. That way he could be a good 2nd liner for about two more years.

     So basically, the Tampa Bay Lightning signed a lot of decent players, and four good players. With a goalie like Mike Smith in the NHL and Kari Rramo on the way, the Olaf Kolzig signing makes no sense to me even though it's just a one-year deal because I think that Mike Smith and Kari Ramo are both better than Olaf Kolzig.

     At the end of the season I think that the Tampa Bay Lightning will finish in 7th in the Eastern Conference and exit the playoffs in the first round.