Jacques Demers says the Tampa Bay Lightning is a "threat to make the playoffs"
Okay, so maybe he is a little biased; Jacques Demers is, after all, a former Lightning coach and general manager. But he also is a television analyst for Canada's RDS, and Demers said he is going to say on his show the Lightning is the "most improved team in the East" and "a threat to make the playoffs."
Added TSN analyst Pierre McGuire, a former NHL coach: "If everybody stays healthy, they have a legitimate chance. They have to have a real good start so it doesn't steamroll, but they're going to be good."
The key, Demers said, is the addition of left wing Alex Tanguay, who likely will sign his one-year contract on Tuesday and whom Demers said he expects to pile up 70 to 75 points if he plays with center Vinny Lecavalier which one would assume is the plan.
"That put them over," Demers said of adding Tanguay. "They needed Alex Tanguay. He's a good guy and he fits in very well with that team. They became a threat to make the playoffs, no question. And (defenseman) Mattias Ohlund will make a difference on the power play. That's a huge plus."
So, to recap, the Lightning added tons of defensive depth with the acquisition of Ohlund, Matt Walker and Kurtis Foster, and the drafting of Victor Hedman. In fact, you might even call it an NHL-ready blue line. Add Tanguay ("He's a better player than Vinny Prospal," Demers said), Stephane Veilleux, Drew Miller and Todd Fedoruk up front and Demers says it should not be shocking to believe the Lightning, 30th and last in the league in 2007-08, and 29th last season, will make the postseason.
"Absolutely, why not? Especially if their goaltending comes back," Demers said. "When you add Alex at the end like that, I like what they did."