Vincent Lecavalier C (81GP 40G 52A 92PTS -17) – A
Now that I look back at it, it was obvious that he was injured the last half of the season. I didn’t really find out that he was playing with an injured wrist until after the trade deadline, but until January or so he was on pace to obliterate last years point totals, and on his way to obtaining more hardware for his mantle (no one has these in Florida) in way of the Art Ross (which would’ve looked great next to his Richard trophy.)
Martin St. Louis RW (82GP 25G 58A 83PTS -23) – B+
Statistically a down year for Mr. Marty, but he really flew out there, as always. If you believe in luck, and aren’t afraid to blame it for all your shortcomings, as I do, then you would know that St Louis had tremendously bad luck this year. He hit two posts in the Pittsburgh game I saw, consecutively. His shot is still outstanding, and he still can hold onto a puck in the corner when an opposing player almost three times his size is draped all over him. He’s a marvel, and he signed my jersey.
Jeff Halpern C (83GP 20G 22A 42PTS 0) – A
I’ll be the first to admit when I was wrong, mostly to beat others to the punch. I thought Halpern was a washed-up has-been. Finding out that we shipped Brad Richards off for Halpern in his shrinking dotage, the worst Jokinen in the league, and a goalie was quite upsetting. But seeing as how he led all trade deadline acquisitions in points, and most notably goals, I have to concede defeat. Especially after seeing Brad Richards point totals.
Jussi Jokinen LW (72GP 16G 26A 42PTS -14) – B
Fairly happy with “Juicy” as well. He also has put nice numbers, and although I really don’t consider him a top line forward, he makes some nice plays. Good acquisition and I sincerely hope he ends up playing on a second line next year with Stamkos.
Michel Ouellet RW (64GP 17G 19A 36PTS 11) – C
Ol’ “Mango Salsa’s” 17 goals may on the outside seem low, but then you have to remember he was injured for 18 games, and he was here to replace Ruslan Fedotenko’s 12 goals and 20 assists. Ouellet started out slow, but really seemed to pick up steam after the trade deadline saw his line mate Brad Richards traded to the Stars. Chemistry or not, he really started putting pucks in the net, and if he can keep it up next year, he will easily break 20. (wow)
Mathieu Darche LW (73GP 7G 15A 22PTS -14) – D
Career AHLer Mathieu Darche will have a heavy heart next season. Not because the little guy isn’t getting enough exercise, Darche is one of the hardest working guys on the team. But he’s just not talented enough for the NHL, which is sad, considering he made our second line. If this poll was rated on a curve, as to how the players did as compared to what tools they had available, Darche would have got an “A”. Instead, he gets a “D” and an atta boy, and a ticket back to Norfolk.
Andre Roy RW (63GP 4G 3A 7PTS -1) – F
In my humble opinion, a human waste of space. Takes bad penalties, is very little threat to score, gets knocked out by one punch in Philly of all places, and is the protagonist of the very lame “WE WANT ROY” chant that the locals seem to yell at the end of every game. But I guess he lights his farts on fire in the locker room, or something, and the players love him.
Chris Gratton C (60GP 10G 11A 21PTS -7) – D
Injured for most of the season, Chris Gratton was brought in to win face-offs late in the game on a checking line, and pot the occasional goal. Which he was doing, up until he was injured.
Shane O'Brien D (77GP 4G 17A 21PTS -2) – C
I’m the #1 SOB apologist, but I’d like to see him play more physical. Apparently so would other people, as he was a healthy scratch for the last couple of games in the season.
Jason Ward RW (79GP 8G 6A 14PTS -18) – D
This guy was an 11th overall pick, this is why I’m glad the Lightning got the first overall pick. Torts summed it up: "He's playing himself right off the team, as far as I'm concerned, with some of the decision-making he's been making."
Craig MacDonald C (65GP 2G 9A 11PTS -10) – D
Biggest claim to fame was both times he was busted up. Once, while playing the Leafs, he took a slapshot to the face from defenseman Hal Gill that fractured nine of MacDonald's teeth, took around 80 stitches to close wounds to his mouth, and three root canals the following morning. The second came from a hit from Rangers Defenseman Fedor Tyutin which sent MacDonald’s gloves flying, and Tyutin straight into a McGuire's Monsters segment.
Nick Tarnasky C (80GP 6G 4A 10PTS -15) – D
Unfair grade, really. He’s a nice role player.
Brad Lukowich D (59GP 1G 6A 7PTS -15) – F
Played “Rock Band” in the restaurant below the St. Pete Times Forum for fan appreciation week while the big boys played their remaining games. Rock Band.
Dan Boyle D (37GP 4G 21A 25PTS -29) – C-
Although he is enemy #1 on the HF Boards, and sometimes his “defense” offends my delicate sensibilities, Dan Boyle IS the Tampa Bay Lightning. He never really has been a shutdown defender, but his outlet passes spring Vinny and Marty, and that’s why they pay him 6.6 a year. This team hurt without him, and we’re better for retaining him.
Filip Kuba D (75GP 6G 25A 31PTS -8) – C
Absolutely must be traded this offseason. Please.
Paul Ranger D (72GP 10G 21A 31PTS -13) – C
Much better than last year, hopefully he continues to improve.
Mike Lundin D (81GP 0G 6A 6PTS 3) – C
Perennial season long overachiever Mike Lundin won a spot on the Lightning Defense by making smart plays and that’s it.
Alexandre Picard D (24GP 3G 3A 6PTS -12) – B
Would’ve got an “A” had I been able to make some badass joke about his last name leading to a catchphrase, T-shirt, image macro or all of the above. Hate to hold it against the kid, because he took Ranger’s spot as #2 Defenseman when he went down with a shoulder injury.
Doug Janik D (61GP 1G 3A 4PTS -3) – D
He's, well, Doug Janik.
Andreas Karlsson C (58GP 2G 2A 4PTS -7) – D
I saw him score a goal once in Boston. Which is nice.
Ryan Craig C (7GP 1G 1A 2PTS -1) – F
Blair Jones C (4GP 0G 0A 0PTS 0) – Undetermined
Pretty sure he banged Tortorella’s daughter or something. One of our best forward prospects, and was overlooked when Tortorella decided to instead move Doug Janik onto a forward line. Once had a total of 9 seconds of ice time in a game. Don’t poke the bear, kid.
Matt Smaby D (14GP 0G 0A 0PTS -6) – B
Smaby was supposed to make the team last year, and then he was a shoo-in for this year’s squad, yet he still lost out to then unknown Mike Lundin. Smaby had his chances with Boyle committing the Ritchie Tennenbaum, but he never made a mark, especially on the other team. He was lambasted for his lack of physical play, and sent down to the AHL for the season. He was recalled and played much better, I expect him to start next year.
Karl Stewart LW (9GP 0G 0A 0PTS -2) – F
BIG trade deadline pickup last year, described as a “cannonball” by Feaster.
Feaster is dumb.
Jay Leach D (2GP 0G 0A 0PTS -1) – Undetermined
Junior Lessard RW (21GP 1G 1A 2PTS -6) – Undetermined
Kyle Wanvig RW (7GP 1G 0A 1PTS -1) – Undetermined
Mike Smith G (34GP 2.59GAA 15W 19L .901PCT 3SO) – B
Benefit of the doubt lands him a “B”. I want to see him play a full season.
Karri Ramo G (22GP 3.03GAA 7W 11L .899PCT 0SO) – B
At 21, he may just get sent back to the AHL, but his play as of late would garner him a spot on the team.
Marc Denis G (10GP 4.05GAA 1W 5L .859PCT 0SO) – LOL
Should’ve been wearing a mask when he signed that contract. Sometimes I like to sit at my desk and imagine he actually died, this is one of those times.