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Old
05-24-2005, 02:41 PM
  #1
BackGroundMusic
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Offseason needs

Having won the cup last year, what does TB need to do in order to stay in a position to challenge for it again? Are there any holes that need to be filled? [As a Sabres fan, who's footspeed is comparable to that of Captain Andy, I was very happy to see TB pull it off. Belated congrats.]

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05-24-2005, 04:33 PM
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missK
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First we need to know what happens to the existing contracts which would have been applied to the 2004-2005 season if it had been. The new CBA will dictate whether those contracts are served or not. We had all essential players under contract except for St. Louis for 2004-2005. If the 2004-2005 contract year is considered served by the new CBA, the Lightning then only have 8 players under contract for 2005-2006 (Sydor, Kubina, Modin, Richards, Prospal, Sarich, Grahame, Dingman). As you can see, it's a big deal for our team.

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05-24-2005, 06:23 PM
  #3
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My concerns are twofold:

1.) The health of Brad Richards.

2.) The aging of the checking line. Taylor and Andreychuk were older than dirt last season, and they'll be older than the dirt under that dirt when hockey starts again. Because of our joint affiliation problems we've only now begun to groom potential checking line replacements like Craig and Artukhin... and I'm not sure a guy like Cibak is someone you want to play 12-15 minutes a night against top lines. They may have to acquire a checking liner or two.

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05-24-2005, 09:15 PM
  #4
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As MissK stated, it all depends on how they treat last year's contracts (does Khabi become a UFA) and the new UFA age. I know that I am in the minority, but I believe that St. Louis will be a UFA and will be in another uniform next year. While it would be tempting for the union to have nearly everyone a UFA, it may be in the unions best interest to have last years deals continue.

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05-25-2005, 01:52 PM
  #5
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If everything picks up where it left off, Feaster was searching for a 6/7 dman in the wake of losing Cullimore to Chicago.

Dicaire was a possibility, but then he had that boil removed and was out for a lot of the year in SF. I don't believe anyone in SF stepped up in the last year to get that spot, although Feaster mentioned Egener as a prospect that may have received a cup of coffee at the NHL level last year. I doubt he starts next year in TB.

Other than the 6/7 dman, the other "big" thing we were watching was the Cory Stillman saga. Since TB walked away from his arbitration ruling, if he would have received a FA offer under a certain amount, TB would have had the right to match. Unless I'm mistaken, Feaster said he would take Stillman back at the right price.

There were also minor position battles that were to be waged between Cibak and Perrin and some thought Alexeev may have pushed for a spot since he could have been waiver eligible (?).

There was also a remote possibility Ben Clymer may have been a late camp signee on a 2-way contract. I believe he was unsigned at the time of the lockout.

Roster was looking like:

Modin-Richards-St. Louis
Prospal-Lecavalier-Fedotenko
Taylor-Andreychuk-Afanasenkov
3 of Roy/Dingman/Cibak/Perrin
(Going into next year, you could add Ryan Craig, Shane Willis, and Evgeni Artukhin to that 4th line mix)

Defense (I can't remember the pairings):

Sydor-Kubina
Sarich-Boyle
Lukowich-Pratt
Neckar (still listed on the roster on TBL.com) and/or addition
(Egener, O'Brien and Ranger may get some late looks in the fall)

Khabibulin
Grahame
(Eklund in SF)

Pete's right - that 3rd line could be hurting.


Last edited by Oceanic39*: 05-25-2005 at 02:08 PM.
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05-25-2005, 02:02 PM
  #6
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I don't believe anyone in SF stepped up in the last year to get that spot
O'Brien might get a look, although I don't think he's as aggressive as Ramsey likes. He was the guy Graham would go to with ice time.

Quote:
Pete's right - that 3rd line could be hurting.
I think we're pushing our luck on Taylor's health holding up.

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05-25-2005, 02:48 PM
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Thanks for all the info. I guess I was thinking in more concrete terms, not so much related to what may or may not be in the new CBA. I know that the CBA is a huge factor, but if you can imagine, say, a normal offseason, would a Kotalik for Sarich trade work for TB? I loved Sarich in B-lo, and Kotalik would add some youth to that decaying third line.

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05-25-2005, 04:15 PM
  #8
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No...

The Lightning don't really have the d depth to do that.

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05-25-2005, 04:18 PM
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BikeGiftingMan
Thanks for all the info. I guess I was thinking in more concrete terms, not so much related to what may or may not be in the new CBA. I know that the CBA is a huge factor, but if you can imagine, say, a normal offseason, would a Kotalik for Sarich trade work for TB? I loved Sarich in B-lo, and Kotalik would add some youth to that decaying third line.
With Cullimore gone, I think Sarich moves to the no trade list.

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05-25-2005, 04:54 PM
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..and Sarich really isn't that old. It didn't seem like that long ago that we were trading to get Sarich and that youth tag. Plus we've drafted quite a few defensemen that should have some years under their belts. I've haven't really kept track, but Holm, Dica, Egenere, and Smab should all have atleast two years under their belts.

I'd like to see us resign Stillman and move Fedotenko down to the third line if Taylor or Andy retire.

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05-25-2005, 04:59 PM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oceanic39
If everything picks up where it left off, Feaster was searching for a 6/7 dman in the wake of losing Cullimore to Chicago.
Cullimore is one of the best defensive blueliners and has really emerged into a top-four defender in the last couple years. And for a big guy he has excellent skating ability. Fortunately for the Bolts, they had an outstandig top-six last season - Cullimore, Sydor, Kubina, Sarich, Boyle, Lukowich. So they won't need to get a top-four blueliner. I see them using Pratt as their no. 6/7 while giving some of their prospects a cup of coffee.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Oceanic39
There were also minor position battles that were to be waged between Cibak and Perrin and some thought Alexeev may have pushed for a spot since he could have been waiver eligible (?).
Either Prospal, Perrin or Cibak might center the third line. Willis, Alexeev and Artukhin might very well also get a chance for a permanent roster spot. Roster might change significantly, but as for now, I see this as possible lines;

Modin - Richards - St. Louis
Fedotenko - Lecavalier - Willis
Andreychuk - Cibak - Afanasenkov
Dingman - Taylor - Roy

Sydor - Kubina
Boyle - Sarich
Lukowich - Pratt/Dicaire/Holmqvist

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05-25-2005, 05:22 PM
  #12
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Either Prospal, Perrin or Cibak might center the third line.
Prospal will play wing on Vinny's line. That was the whole rationale behind his reacquisition.

Quote:
Willis, Alexeev and Artukhin might very well also get a chance for a permanent roster spot.
Alexeev probably won't be in this organization next year. And if he is, it darned sure won't be at the NHL level.

Quote:
Andreychuk - Cibak - Afanasenkov
Dingman - Taylor - Roy
Taylor will center the third line... between he and Andreychuk that's why we call it the Dirt Line.

Quote:
Pratt/Dicaire/Holmqvist
Holmqvist is probably going back to Sweden to play for Linkopings next year. IMO it's O'Brien/Dicaire with Egener in the mix. Would really love to see Ranger get a shot though, although he probably needs another 1-2 years of seasoning in the A.

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05-25-2005, 07:08 PM
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boltprospects
Prospal will play wing on Vinny's line. That was the whole rationale behind his reacquisition.
Ou, I really forgot about him...

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05-25-2005, 11:00 PM
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheechoo14whitney
Either Prospal, Perrin or Cibak might center the third line. Willis, Alexeev and Artukhin might very well also get a chance for a permanent roster spot. Roster might change significantly, but as for now, I see this as possible lines;

Modin - Richards - St. Louis
Fedotenko - Lecavalier - Willis
Andreychuk - Cibak - Afanasenkov
Dingman - Taylor - Roy

Sydor - Kubina
Boyle - Sarich
Lukowich - Pratt/Dicaire/Holmqvist
Alexeev should be cut loose, too high a contract for nothing on either the NHL or AHL level. Willis had a 1 year contract also but for less than half of Alexeev's so he might be around but I suspect it will be in Springfield for the majority of the year and only will get a callup if there are injuries (like his 12 games in 03-04). IMO Willis isn't cut out to play 3rd or 4th line on a consistent basis for the Lightning and Prospal will be on the 2nd line with Lecavalier. Artukhin's still alittle to green to play in the NHL IMO.


Last edited by missK: 05-25-2005 at 11:15 PM.
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05-26-2005, 02:04 AM
  #15
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um, I think this is Alexeev's last chance to make an impression, and I think he will. Hes got too much natural talent, and too high a pedigree for Feaster to just throw out like yesterdays garbage. What the kid was always missing, and was always asked to do, was contribute offensivly. However, what the upper brass should acknowledge is that he doesn't have the offensive skills that it takes to succeed on a top two line. Most of his junior points came from working around the net(not hard to do at junior level), and outskating his opponets, muscleing them off with his impressive wingspan and size(which he will have a tougher time achieving at the NHL level). Still, his size and speed are a force to be acknowledged, even at the NHL level. This kid was a project when he was drafted, and he still is a project; he was drafted with late bloomer status written all over him, and was prematurely rushed.

I know Andreychuck was hooked up with this kid in short spurts in the past. But I would love to see what a full season of tutilidge would do. I remember when Afanasenkov was in the same boat.

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05-26-2005, 07:46 AM
  #16
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"Prematurely rushed" doesn't explain why he floundered miserably this season in Springfield. This was his 4th year of pro hockey. He should've led that team in scoring. As it was he was Mr. Invisible 3/4 of the time and he got outscored by some rookies. If Adam Henrich as a rookie pro putting up 26 points was a "disappointment" to the organization, think what they must think of Alexeev putting up 22 in his 4th year of pro?

There's no more excuses left to make for the guy. He's just not a hockey player.

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05-26-2005, 10:56 AM
  #17
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Your kidding. The reason most organizations don't rush their prospects is because it can inhibit their overall mentality and growth. It can throw them back in their development. Alexeev didn't exactly go after the Junior scoring titles in his years with Eerie either, yet he was considered to be a top prospect. 22 points in Springfield may be a precursor to his production in the NHL level, than again, Tortorella isn't one to use minor league production as rapport. After all, his work ethic is what put him in Springfield after the 02/03 season, not his point total.

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05-26-2005, 11:34 AM
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TB_FANATIC
Your kidding. The reason most organizations don't rush their prospects is because it can inhibit their overall mentality and growth. It can throw them back in their development. Alexeev didn't exactly go after the Junior scoring titles in his years with Eerie either, yet he was considered to be a top prospect. 22 points in Springfield may be a precursor to his production in the NHL level, than again, Tortorella isn't one to use minor league production as rapport. After all, his work ethic is what put him in Springfield after the 02/03 season, not his point total.
I am absolutely going to call you optimistic if you think that Alexeev still has potential to be a future scorer for the Lightning.

The guy seems to have no heart. He doesn't display any effort on the ice. He has the talent to be a very good NHL player. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to have the motivation to do what is necessary to succeed.

Quite frankly, Aleexev should have been a 60-80 point guy in the AHL. 22 points in 72 games is embarrassing for a #8 overall pick in the draft.

Nikita Alexeev = Pavel Brendl = Alexander Daigle

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05-26-2005, 12:43 PM
  #19
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Your kidding.
No I'm not. This organization has handed him everything he could ever ask for on a silver platter. All he had to do is pretend, just for one training camp, that he gave a damn and he would've been playing on a line with Vincent Lecavalier.

But for whatever reason he's content to float around the rink and collect his checks twice a month. He hasn't improved one iota from the day he stepped foot in this organization 5 seasons ago... matter of fact he's gone backwards.

Quote:
The reason most organizations don't rush their prospects is because it can inhibit their overall mentality and growth.
We didn't rush Nikita Alexeev. He's had 157 AHL games to develop in the minors. That's not rushing a player. Problem is he's done SQUAT with those 157 developmental games. The excuse used to be to blame it on Potvin and McSorley... well now he's played a full season in a full affiliation and that excuse is dead. He played in the Lightning's system underneath Coach Graham who is paid by the Lightning and he still stunk on toast. Period.

Quote:
Alexeev didn't exactly go after the Junior scoring titles in his years with Eerie either, yet he was considered to be a top prospect.
Because he's a specemin. He's a guy who at 6'5" can skate better than just about anyone in the organization not named St. Louis. Problem is, the name of the sport isn't specemin... it's hockey. And Nikita Alexeev isn't a good hockey player. If he gave a crap about his career and applied himself to his craft the last 4 years he might've been one by now, but as it stands today he's the same thing he was when we picked him in 2000... a specemin. Nothing more.

Quote:
22 points in Springfield may be a precursor to his production in the NHL level
With his speed he should be able to fall into 20 goals on accident. The fact he can't do that even at the AHL level should tell you just how bad a player he truly is.

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05-26-2005, 01:48 PM
  #20
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Originally Posted by TB_FANATIC
The reason most organizations don't rush their prospects is because it can inhibit their overall mentality and growth.
How on earth was Alexeev "rushed"? Please explain.

I think he's already blown his last chance this past season. I've always supported him and been patient about him, but I think he's dangerously close to being a bust.

Alexeev and Afanasenkov shouldn't even be in the same sentence, truthfully. One applied himself to doing what the organization wanted him to, one did not. Affy is where he is due to work ethic and a willingness to play how the team wanted him to play.

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05-26-2005, 02:00 PM
  #21
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Well he still was 3rd in goals on the Falcons. Hah not saying much at all though. However the highest scoring player on the team only had 41 points. Even Willis, a known quantity on the AHL level was only able to scrape together 34 points in this lineup (pro-rates to 46 points if he wasnt injured). True, if Nikita really was a legitimate first rounder he should have done something to pick everyone else up by now, but moving backwards? I don't see how anything around him has helped. Coaching has gotten qualitatively better but there's no results to back that up.

Definitely he is never going to be a top 6 forward in Tampa at this rate. He hasn't shown much in the defensive end of things either, but he was trusted with a spot in the playoff roster a couple years ago. If he's willing to come back at a serious pay cut perhaps he can still make a decent checking liner. Alexeev is a bust but there could be something to salvage. I'd trust him on the 3rd/4th line before most of our forward depth anyhow.

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05-26-2005, 02:04 PM
  #22
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The Lightning gave Alexeev a one-year contract to prove himself worthy (his fourth year in the AHL). He was a disappointment again, no heart, no intensity. He's gone.

On the other hand, the Lightning gave Brian Eklund a one-year contract to prove himself worthy as a potential 3rd goalie (his first year in the AHL) and he very worked hard and received kudos from Springfield and Lightning mgmt on a sub-par team. Eklund gets another contract.

The team qualifies Alexeev and they send a BAD message, exactly the opposite of what they have been preaching for 4 years. Hard Work pays off in this franchise. Alexeev is gone.

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05-26-2005, 03:28 PM
  #23
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LOL. Alexeev never got a chance. Poor kid. How can anyone be expected to show anything in 230+ professional games? (oh, it's dripping)

Let's not confuse the real Alexeev with the EA Sports version.

The only way Alexeev gets a new contract from TB is to get something from a wasted draft pick by signing him with the intent to trade him. Considering his eligibility for waivers, he has to stick somewhere.

Speaking of Afanasenkov, I'm a little worried about him after an underachieving offensive season in Russia (2 goals, 11 points in 30 games) and not hitting the scoresheet in the RSL playoffs (0 points in 9 games).

Someone once said he was a lock for 25-30 goals at the NHL level.

One would have thought ol' Affy could have topped 2 goals in 39 games against a few NHLers in the RSL. This, coming off 1 goal in 23 playoff games.

It's a good thing he's learned to contribute in other areas. It's been a long time since his 56 goals for the Castors.

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05-26-2005, 05:12 PM
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missK
The team qualifies Alexeev and they send a BAD message, exactly the opposite of what they have been preaching for 4 years. Hard Work pays off in this franchise.
A very good point I hadn't thought of; you are absolutely right about that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oceanic39
One would have thought ol' Affy could have topped 2 goals in 39 games against a few NHLers in the RSL. This, coming off 1 goal in 23 playoff games.
I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt due to not knowing much about the circumstances of the team he was with, like how much ice time they gave him, his expected role, etc. His point total is pretty sorry, though.

Which brings up a question - which Bolts actually did well overseas? I know Boyle's team was very pleased with him and he logged a ton of minutes, were there any others?

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05-26-2005, 07:37 PM
  #25
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You can throw those European games out the window though IMO... it's just a paycheck for these guys while they wait for the NHL to start again.

What Affy did in the Russian league for Lada? Eh. His regular season numbers were alright. Offense is hard to come by in Russia. They play a much more defensive style. Soft, yes, but defensive. I would've liked to see him step up the way Semin did on that team, but I don't think he regressed any there offensively overall.

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However the highest scoring player on the team only had 41 points. Even Willis, a known quantity on the AHL level was only able to scrape together 34 points in this lineup
41 points is still roughly twice what Alexeev had... so even if you grade on a curve he flunked this season. Willis at least had the excuse of nagging injuries the entire second half of the season. Even when he played I don't think Shane was 100%.

And I think when you're a lotto pick and in your 4th pro season you're expected to be a leader. And as a guy who was supposed to lead he's got to take a healthy part of the culpability for their offensive struggles.

Quote:
True, if Nikita really was a legitimate first rounder he should have done something to pick everyone else up by now, but moving backwards?
Yes, backwards. Remember his first camp before we sent him back to Erie 5 years ago. Remember how he'd ::gasp:: turn his back and ::double gasp:: protect the puck down low with his body and make plays. He damned near made that team by showing a willingness to pay a price to make a play. He hasn't shown that in the last 4 years though. He's decided he'd rather be on the perimeter figure skating than get dirty in the high traffic areas. And that's a step backwards.

Quote:
I'd trust him on the 3rd/4th line before most of our forward depth anyhow.
As passive as he is why in God's name would you play him on a checking line over Artukhin, for instance? In my books R2's performance in the second half of the season sealed Alexeev's fate. He's expendable now.

Other than familiarity and a little bit of experience, I don't see what else he's got going for him in a checking line job.

Quote:
Alexeev and Afanasenkov shouldn't even be in the same sentence, truthfully. One applied himself to doing what the organization wanted him to, one did not. Affy is where he is due to work ethic and a willingness to play how the team wanted him to play.
Lets not forget though, Affy had a "come to Jesus" in Switzerland. When they loaned him out to Kloten he looked done for. I was surprised they even qualified him after that. I think he got the message that was his last chance in North American hockey and he capitalized on it in that training camp the following Fall. Alexeev doesn't feel that urgency. I'm sure he thinks, "So what if the Lightning cut me. I was a lotto pick. Someone will take a chance on me." And he's probably right. So I don't think his moment will come until after he knocks around a couple of more organizations. Then maybe the fire will get lit under him.

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