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Lightning still retooling, add a defenseman

Posted Jul 8, 2008 by Erik Erlendsson

Updated Jul 8, 2008 at 01:00 AM

While not official, Tampa Bay is expected to announced that defenseman Andrew Hutchinson has agreed to join the Lightning. While I know this isn’t the veteran defenseman many of you have been looking for, at least its a defenseman with NHL experience, limited as it is.

But I’m not convinced how much more they can add at this point. They currently have seven defenseman signed to one-way contracts (including Janne Niskala and Hutchinson, who was part of the Carolina team that won the 2006 Stanley Cup), and that doesn’t include Matt Smaby or Mike Lundin. So unless they use some of that young talent in a deal, I’m not sure where they are going to find the fit for some veteran experience.

And here’s a hint from owner Len Barrie as to what they may have in mind.

““You can hear from me first, our defense is better than people think,’’ Barrie said. “That’s why we are loading up on forwards because I really, really like our young defense.’‘

Barrie didn’t flat out say that they have no intention of bringing in more on defense and he did indicate that more deals are in the works, especially since they have 14 forwards on one-way deals, not counting Evgeny Artyukhin, who is expected to be signed this week, possibly as early as Tuesday.

Now, I’m not going to rule out that the Lightning could easily add another defenseman by packaging a forward or two plus one of its young defenseman for a top-level blue liner. I’m also not going to rule out the possibility of keeping track of the waiver wire for a contract another team might be looking to dump. And let’s not forget that they have two first round picks and a pair of seconds in next years draft, so the assets are there.

“I don’t think in the last little while you could say that Tampa Bay has had depth; now we have some depth to make some moves,’’ Barrie said.

But what those moves could be will make for some interesting conversation in the coming days. Hey, the fans were promised a radically different looking roster in October, correct? Well, you’ve got it.

One other note, Lightning chief scout Jake Goertzen was fired on Monday. An original member of the Lightning, Goertzen spent 16 seasons with the team, first as a Western League scout before making his way up chief scout. The past few years he has been responsible for running the draft for Tampa Bay. Goertzen is a top-notch person and he will be missed within the scouting staff. No doubt, he’ll be back working for somebody soon.

Here is a comment Goertzen sent out in his email informing those he knows that he was let go: “It has been a good run. I have been very fortunate in my hockey life, to have been with one pro organization as long as I was. Life will go on.’’

Reader Comments

Por (Mike Joyce) on July 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

It makes sense that the dealing isn’t done yet.  They have a lot of talent that can be bundled to make a deal and add even more strength to the D without giving up much of the young talent that they have in that position.  There is an overflow if forwards, so some of them, with or without Kuba could be attractive for a team that is having difficulty negotiating with their own player.

There is no question that the Bolts will certainly look different next season.  They will be considerably stronger.

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Por (Kevin) on July 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

With Recchi (who I do like), the Bolts want to get younger, yet they get older at the same time. I throw my hands up in the air right now, b/c this team is confusing the heck outta me. But, I’m excited, nonetheless. Recchi can still play. But, never saw that one coming. Man….

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Por (dale) on July 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Boy I hope Stamkos wins the rookie of the year award, he needs to if this team is going to the playoffs. Time will tell if Smith is good enough, Olie isn’t the answer. Reechi & Roberts are the same players and I wasn’t crazy with the Roberts signing.

I’m with Barrie as far as the blue line goes, we’re not nearly as bad off as the experts thing we are, Boyle will be missed but there is alot of tallent on d.

I just hope OK hasn’t already choosen who’s made the team, Lundin,Smaby,Mac & Nick deserve a fare chance at making the team.

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Por (TampaRob) on July 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I’m a little confused too:
I see Gratton as being a younger better version of Roberts.. I think Halpern is a younger more physical version of Recchi.. unfortunately Jeff is out on injury for quite a while.. and where does Andre fit in?.. we know he can be a loose cannon but it would suck if he isn’t back.. and please keep Ouellet: dude was awesome latter ½ of last season.. on the blueline we need a veteran.. not sure if Kuba is the man.. the goaltending still has me concerned: Smith unproven.. and can Olie the Goalie be as awesome as he was years ago? I hope so! One comfort: the MVP line is back!
the team is different for sure.. and this is a good thing.

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Por (Geografer) on July 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Wait a minute - Hutchinson didn’t even play one minute in the NHL last season. Yet he is the one we sign?? Please say it is a 2-way deal and they plan is that he can help the D in Norfolk as he did in Hartford last season.

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Por (Mark Baryol) on July 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Erik, Could you give us a salary breakdown? It seems like not only are we loading up on forwards, but we’ve been overpaying them as well. Seems like all the money and attention is going to offense, while we know that our biggest problem last year was with experience on defense (notice I did not say talent, I think our D will be awesome… in a couple years).

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Por (berlin) on July 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

These guys really have no idea what the hell their doing!I agree with you completely TampaRob.It would be a bad move to dump Ouellet.

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Por (BOLTS RULE !!!!) on July 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Looks like they are loading up on Wingers to maybe use as trade bait for a good defensemen, somewhere down the line.

for those wondering how much we are spending, I came across a decent website called www.nhlnumbers.com and click on TBL it is close to be up to date as possible, but with the way things are happening in here in HockeyBay, it changes about every 2-4 hours LOL. www.hockeybuzz.com is pretty good as well, but abou 1 day behind the nhlnumbers site.

It does alot to show how they are doing spreading the money out, Hockey buzz shows you the cap hits, but also the players salaries, which is different than the cap hit.

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Por (Justin) on July 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Does anyone else read what other cities are saying about what Tampa is doing, it all looks pretty good in the eyes of everyone else but the people in Tampa.

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Por (berlin) on July 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Thats cause we watch all 82 games

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Por (Justin) on July 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

berlin, you nor I realistically have no idea how the team will perform under a new system driven by Melrose. i’m sure you’ve watched all 82 games(even the ones not televised or on the radio.) but it appears to me that the only system that 95% of local lightning fans know is tortorella’s, and if they were still going to be playing his style of play then no, these trades and aquisitions make no sense and will not work. And really, if you don’t like it, then A. Don’t watch. or B. Apply as the GM and do better, i’m sure you have a reputable resume.

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Por (Mark Baryol) on July 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

The new owners have been giving me the feeling that they are in the mold of Marc Cuban and Daniel Snyder (or even Gruden his first couple years here). They seem to be going for “names” and greatly overpaying them without worrying about chemistry. It wouldn’t worry me as much if they were addressing our lack of veteran leadership on Defense as well, but I’m mystified why they are paying 40+ year old Roberts and Recci more than our second line defensemen.

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Por (berlin) on July 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Justin

You sound alone on this one.And thanks perhaps I will consider the GM position.You really think I didn’t notice Torts system was no longer working, Jack***.

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Por (BOLTMAN) on July 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

There should be concern with any new ownership/coach its a good thing.As fans we should expect greatness,time will only tell.

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Por (Justin) on July 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Sorry berlin, I don’t run with the rest of the sheep. Anyhow, anyone who needs to resort to calling people jack@sses completely nullifies anything they say regardless, what are you like 15 or something?

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Por (berlin) on July 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

call them as i see them.thats in my resume. Anyway I am excited about the Artyukhin deal, he’s a beast.But their spending too much on forwards and not enough on D.And their really taking a chance with Smith. I’m not sure he’s proven himself.And you can’t depend on Kolzig to start 50 or so games(not including playoffs).

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Por (Justin) on July 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

we’ll see what happens in October.

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Por (Geografer) on July 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Okay kids - to your separate corners now please. Justin - should you be called names - no - but I don’t think you recognize the tone of your post. By saying that if you don’t like it don’t watch it you are basically saying anyone who disagrees with you/owners can go stuff it. As the ones paying to watch the games and for merchandise and thus paying the owners we are entitled to have an opinion even if you don’t agree to it. Plus by implying that berlin is 15 based on his response is pretty much the same as his calling you out. Everyone is entitled to an opinion - even if others don’t agree.

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Por (berlin) on July 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Agreed, GO BOLTS!

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Por (BOLTS RULE !!!!) on July 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Looks like Jason Smith is now going to Senators, instead the rumor that he was coming to the bolts.

Hockeybuzz

but with the way rumors are flying you never know about any of this until they sign.

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Por (Justin) on July 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I supposed, to each his own.

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Por (Mike Joyce) on July 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

The goalie situation isn’t that bad.  If Smith can’t cut the mustard, they have Kolzig already and can call Ramo up as a back up.  In any case, they’ve got coverage for at least another year.  Kolzig might have his greatness passed, but still as enough games in him with a decent back up.

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Por (Bill) on July 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Hi Campers. Things are moving fast and furious at Channelside. With all the forwards, 14 in all, and new managments tactics, I wonder how long it will be before St. Louis and Other expensive players are traded. I admit to a lack of confidence in the new ownership. I don’t think anyones job is safe their. Some players should be traded for a great couple of defense men. Gratton, Ward, Kuba etc need a new home.

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