The revolving door
The two stats from this morning's story I thought were most interesting: the Lightning so far has used 36 players, a league high. It also has made 29 transactions since the start of the regular season. Compare that to the 2003-04 season in which it made only 14. I know, the two seasons aren't really comparable, but thought it illustratedd well where this team is at.
We also found out from GM Brian Lawton where the team is going. In short, expect more callups from AHL Norfolk. Players such as Brandon Segal, Andy Rogers, Vladimir Mihalik and even goaltender Karri Ramo will be coming up at some point to get a better look. As Lawton said, "Right now, we're looking internally for a good accounting of what we have."
In other words, the team is trying to locate organizational weaknesses to help it better form its strategy for next year's draft. It also wants to know from where it can deal from strength at the trade deadline.
Lawton said he is not writing off the season. "That would be an overstatement," he said.
But it is clear the team is putting what Lawton called a "macro view" into place than just how it does this season. As coach Rick Tocchet said, "The game plan has begun."
It seems to me that's the right way to go, doesn't it? I mean the Lightning is 17 points out of first in the Southeast and 11 points out of a playoff spot. To put that into further perrspective, if the Southeast leading Capitals simply went .500 the rest of the way (25-25-1) it would finish with 90 points. If Tampa Bay, which has 22 points, is to reach 90 it must go 34-18 in its last 52 games. Do you have any confidence the team can do that?
The point is, expect even more transactions and more moves from Norfolk.
Tocchet is in a tough spot. He has to stay positive about this season, but he also must face reality, which is why on Monday he held a bit of a training/teaching camp, with two half-team sessions in the morning followed by a 4 p.m. full squad workout.
As he said in today's story, "I'm not throwing in the towel. The game plan has begun, but you don't just start calling up guys and say, 'Let's pick up draft picks.' We're not in that mode yet. But if it means calling up players and trading for guys who want to compete and win, I'm all for it."