St. Louis and Stamkos were the top scorers on the Lightning last season. Teddy Purcell finished with a respectable 36 points, but the fourth- and fifth-best scorers are gone from Tampa Bay's roster. Vincent Lecavalier scored 32 points to finish fourth, and Cory Conacher - currently with the Ottawa Senators - finish fifth in Lightning scoring with 24 points. There's a significant gap between the top-three scorers and the rest of the team.
St. Louis and Stamkos scored 31.3% of the goals in 2012-13 for the Lightning. That's a lot of goals to put on two players, but the Lightning were the third-best team in terms of scoring last season. Losing Lecavalier and Conacher - 12.9% of Tampa Bay's goals - hurts the overall production when going into a division that has three of the five best teams in preventing goals - Ottawa (second), Boston (third), and Detroit (fifth). If Tampa Bay isn't going to replace those two key players, it might be a long season in Tampa Bay this year.
Steve Yzerman appeared to be a pretty good general manager in his first season at the helm. His second season saw the Lightning take a step back. This season? It might be one giant leap for them in the wrong direction. I appreciate Steve Yzerman's responsibilities with Team Canada, but he gets paid by the Lightning to build a team that will compete for the Stanley Cup. It appears that, barring some miracle, the Lightning will not be competing for the Stanley Cup this season based on the roster that the Yzerman has chosen to ice this season thus far.
What I do know is that Steven Stamkos has the ability to be very good this season, and he'll have to be with the current crop of players. If he and St. Louis scored 31.3% of all Lightning goals this past season, they may have to up that production to around 70% if the Lightning are going to have a shot at the playoffs.
The other thing I know? Stamkos is pretty strong.
That's 500lbs that Stamkos is lifting. Wanna know why his one-timer feels like a bullet?
The Lightning will need someone other than St. Louis and Stamkos to step up and provide a major spark if the Lightning are to make the playoffs this season. Teddy Purcell appears to be the man to do it, but Ryan Malone, Tyler Johnson, and Alex Killorn will have to bring the offence for the Lightning to succeed. Otherwise, Stamkos and St. Louis may only have Team Canada and the Olympics to look forward to this season.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!