Tampa Bay Lightning

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Tampa Bay Lightning Franchise Profile

Founded: 1992
Arena: St. Pete Times Forum
Stanley Cups: 1
2004

Tampa Bay Lightning Retired Numbers:

None

Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey Hall of Fame Members:

Denis Savard (1993-95)

2009-10 Lightning Season Preview:

Here we go again. For the second year in a row, the Lightning busied themselves with a slew of off-season moves.

So are they any better?

Yes. A little.

The team overpaid to take on free-agent defenceman Mattias Ohlund.

But he’s an immediate upgrade and hopefully the ideal mentor for Victor Hedman, the defensive behemoth of last summer’s draft.

A couple of other news faces join the blue line as well, so Tampa will be better defensively.

Up front, the off-season results were mixed. Vaclav Prospal out and Alex Tanguay in. An upgrade? Maybe.

The strength of the Tampa forward group remains what it was last year: world-class talent in Marty St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier, and tremendous potential in Steven Stamkos, who improved as his rookie season progressed.

The weakness remains as well: not much depth.

Having improved the defence, Tampa must start getting better defensive effort from its forwards. This team has been far too easy to play against for several year.

That’s a challenge for coach Rick Tocchet.

Last year was such a disaster that you have to believe it can’t happen again.

Or can it?

Looming over the franchise is an ownership dispute that could see the team caught short of cash. If management has to dump salary in a hurry, all bets are off.

Prediction: 14th in the East.
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