The Lightning Strike in Free Agency

The Tampa Bay Lightning had a very active free agency period, shopping for and signing 21 new players to their organization over 10 days.



Hey, when you only have 5 forwards, its going to happen.


The Lightning may not have been able to bring in any of the sexy names that fans wanted, but they were able to fill all the holes without giving up assets to do so, and they should be able to have a better team then last season.


Now going forward the rosters should for the most part stay the same over the next 2 seasons with only a couple changes. Those most likely being 3 or 4 guys from the farm moving up, and prospects joining the Syracuse Crunch.


"Well we went into free agency with a couple of particular guys circled as our top objectives, which were plans A and B, we ended up going with plans F and G," said Tampa GM Wes Mucyk. "What that does provide us with is options. Guys can move up and down depending on the matchups or how the team is playing.


"The only locks up front would be our centers and the 4th line. Otherwise everyone can be moved around. The guys (outside of the 4th line players) will all be given the chance to show what they can do when given the chance to play in our top 6.


"Our top priority was a winger for both our 1st and 2nd line. At this time it looks like we may start with (Derick) Brassard playing alongside (Auston) Matthews and (Kyle) Okposo skating on the 2nd line with (Kirby) Dach. I am sure (Andreas) Athanasiou and (Lawson) Crouse will challenge for both those spots throughout the season.


"Prior to the start of free agency we had only 5 forwards, all young guys. So what we wanted to be sure to do is bring in some experience to help with those youngsters, that, I know we were able to do."


The new Tampa Bay GM and Team President has also been very active on the trade front, so far making 6 trades, 3 player buyouts and most recently a coaching buyout as he fired his Syracuse coach Marc Crawford just yesterday.


PROJECTED LINES:


Buchnevich - Matthews - Brassard

Athanasiou - Dach - Okposo

Crouse - Eakin - Neal

Komarov - Filppula - Karlsson

SCRATCH: Victor Rask


PROJECTED D PAIRINGS:


Hamilton - Goligoski

Niskanen - Cernak

Byfuglien - Gustafsson

SCRATCH: Trevor Daley


PROJECTED GOALIES:


Starter: Blackwood

Backup: Lankinen

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