New Lightning GM Wes Mucyk got straight to work, making big splashes in the UFA pool along with analyzing his prospect cupboard.
"Prospect pool!!" said GM Wes Mucyk loudly with a very confused look on his face. "You mean our quantity over quality heap? They could play in the hobbit world cup, probably lose too. Prospect pool, pfft."
That's how the Tampa Bay Lightning's new GM and team president started off his media scrum today. The Bolts went into free agency with only 11 skaters on their pro roster. Only 5 of those skaters were forwards.
"We knew heading in that this was going to be a challenge," said Mucyk. "We probably were not going to be able to fill the holes needed simply through free agency to become a contender, but we hope to at least bring in pieces that would help our young group develop properly."
Their needs were many. Up front it is 2 skaters for their top 6 and 5 to round out their bottom 6 along with an extra press box player in case of injury. Their top target was someone who could play on the top line with superstar Austin Matthews. Then it surely had to be someone to help out Kirby Dach on their 2nd line.
"We were kicking the tires on many different options over these past few days. Those who we had circled as our primary targets, their agents, well we had several talks with them. Many back and fourths, some big money was talked about. In the end we have had to dive into plans B and C."
So far through the first couple of days of free agency Tampa has been able to fill out some of those bottom 6 spots and finish up their farm club. Their defence, which earlier this week was expected to be on the trade block, now appears to be staying put.
"Our core guys for this franchise will be Matthews, Dach and (MacKenzie) Blackwood. There are several young guys for us who we could see potentially joining that group."
If this season ends poorly, this team faces 2 really bad stories. Their youth's development, especially how will their franchise goaltender Blackwood rebound? The other being that this team does not even own it's 1st round pick.