2008/09 Carolina Hurricanes Season Preview
2008/09 Tampa Bay Lightning Season Preview
A big jump for this team and I see them being this year’s Philadelphia Flyers.
A majority of their moves this offseason were to upgrade the forwards and they did just that. Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St.Louis of course headline the group with the underrated Vaclav Prospal. Jussi Jokinen, Radim Vrbata, Ryan Malone, Mark Recchi and Gary Roberts are all solid options to complete the 2nd and 3rd lines. Steven Stamkos will look to prove why they took him 1st overall and play consistently on the 2nd line.
Just like Washington, defence is Tampa’s weakness. Matthew Carle, Andrej Meszaros and Paul Ranger are all good young players but are still learning. Janne Niskala, Mike Lundin, Jamie Heward and newly acquired Lukas Krajicek round out the blueline.
In goal the Lightning greatly improved as well. Mike Smith and a very good young goaltender and Olaf Kolzig provides a steady veteran presence in the backup role and is also able to step in as the #1 if Smith goes through a rough patch or goes down due to injury.
I expect the Lightning to shoot up the standings due to their improvements at forward and in net, but defence will be their achilles heel and will prevent them from being serious contenders unless it’s addressed.