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The Tampa Bay Lightning have no more excuses for a bottom 5 finish. With one of the best offensive cores in the NHL last year, they finished a measly 12th in the Eastern Conference. When you have a core of offensive players including Martin St.Louis, Vincent Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone, you at least make the playoffs. These four players scored a combined 308 points last year alone, and managed to finish 12th in the Conference. Yes there goaltending was a little shaky, but come on!
Now, they have added Simon Gagne to that core. WOW. This is now a contender for the top offensive power in the league. Simon Gagne recorded 40 points in 58 games last season and is a 2 time 40+ goal scorer. They also added goalie Dan Ellis who is a solid starter and can carry a heavy workload.
The Lightning were forced to give up D-man Matt Walker as well as a 4th round pick. This would have left Tampa very weak on the blueline had they not signed Pavel Kubina 2 weeks prior.
The Tampa Bay Lightning now have no excuse whatsoever for having a less than stellar and the expectations are higher than ever before. And they better exceed expectations with a team like that.

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Thanks for Reading,
Rob Naylor


Kovalchuk signs for 8.5 million per year?

Well, the latest is that Kovalchuk has signed in New Jersey. The deal is reportedly worth $60M over 7 years. This makes Kovy approximately $8.5M per year. Its funny becuase earlier this season he rejected a 10-year $100M contract from the Thrashers. This shows that Kovalchuk really wants to win, and maybe money is not totally everything (but still a big part of it).

The thing that amazes me is that the Devils were able to get that type of money. They already have some pretty expensive contracts on the team and i really do not think this is a smart decision for the future. I give Kovalchuk 4 years before he gets shipped out of New Jersey because Martin Brodeur retires and they are having a meltdown.

I believe a better fit would have been LA for Kovy. There, he could have revived a city and he could have helped all the young players.


After a surprising Round 1, here are my winners and losers of draft day:


-Florida Panthers:

They are by far the biggest winner on draft day. Dale Tallon is starting his magic in Florida. The panthers were able to draft 3 players in the first round (3rd,19th,25th). They also made a trade with the Vancouver Canucks acquiring Steve Bernier, Micheal Grabner and that 25th overall pick and had to give up Keith Ballard and Oreskkovich. They acquired offensive strength but were forced to give up defensive strength. In response to this, they drafted a defenseman 3rd overall and also acquired Dennis Wideman earlier this week. They drafted 2 forwards to balance out their losses.

-Anaheim Ducks

The Anaheim Ducks are winners for one reason: Two players thought to be in the top 5 and 15 respectively were not drafted as early as expected and became available. Without making any trades, the Ducks were able to draft Cam Fowler and Emerson Etem. With the loss of Scott Niedermayer, the fact that Anaheim were able to get D Cam Fowler was huge, since he was projected to go 5th overall.


-New York Rangers

The New York Rangers looked a gift horse in the mouth and chose otherwise. They had the opportunity to draft Cam Fowler, Brandon Gormley or Derek Forbort. These are 3 good defenseman that could really bolster the Rangers defense. They also had the chance to draft high scoring forwards such as Vladimir Tarasenko or Jaden Schwartz, two goal scoring forwards who could make great 2nd-3rd line forwards. Instead, they chose Dylan McIlrath, a rugged 3rd-4th liner. This draft will come back to haunt them, because they passed up too god an opportunity.

- Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars are part of the very few losers this draft day. They drafted a goalie insetad of the qualtiy defensemen and forwards available. They already have Kari Lehtonen in the system, and were in need of a skater who could either bolster their defense, or compliment to their goal scoring. They have not made the playoffs in 2 years, and needed and upfront player who could help their situation, not a goalie.

This was a good draft year for the majority of teams and didn't have many losers. The majority of teams came out of the draft happy.

Anyways, thanks for reading

NHL InsideOut