With former Lightning goalie Ben Bishop in town tonight and Jonathan Drouin coming in on Saturday, it makes us wonder how we feel about once promising stars who get traded away. Sometimes the deals prove more than beneficial to the team. Sometimes they turn ill-fated and live in historic lore. But whether they work or not for the Rays, Bucs and Lightning, some players still hold a place in our hearts. Who deserves to be on the list? We ask our Roundtable team.
Bishop still receives blessings
Diana C. Nearhos, Lightning beat writer, @dianacnearhos: Ben Bishop left Tampa Bay on good terms and has never had a chance to play spoiler. Perhaps feelings could shift if he met the Lightning in the Stanley Cup Finals, particularly if he beat the Lightning. But that doesn’t seem a huge risk with the Stars. Bishop jerseys still dot Amalie Arena on any given night. Bish, please, this is an easy choice.
The life of Brian
Mari Faiello, Times staff writer, @faiello_mari: Despite leaving a salty taste in some of the mouths of diehard Lightning fans during the playoffs last season, Brian Boyle is still revered throughout Tampa’s fanbase. His scuffle last season with Mikhail Sergachev was nasty and certainly not the prettiest but that doesn’t mean he should forever lose Tampa’s respect. He’s an athlete who got caught up in the moment, like anyone else would given the circumstances. He let his emotions override his mindset and the result was at the bare minimum understandable given his team was 0-2 in the playoffs so far. Tampa fans need to let go of old wounds and quit blowing the scuffle out of proportion.
Say what you want, but Marty stung
Martin Fennelly, columnist @mjfennelly: There’s traded, there’s cut and there’s free agency. Most of the great Bucs have been dumped: Doug Williams, Warren Sapp, John Lynch, Derrick Brooks. A lot of great Rays have been traded: David Price, Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist. Same goes for the LIghtning: Vinny, Richy, Marty. But St. Louis’ departure, even though he forced it, resonated. St. Louis was a time and place in Tampa Bay hockey history, the kind the Lightning is chasing again. Marty, now a Hall of Famer, remains Tampa Bay’s most endearing sports story, the underdog turned superhero, the little engine that could and did power Tampa Bay to the top of the hockey world in 2004. There was no one like him, even if he bruised a few hearts on the way out the door, tell me you don’t smile thinking about his Game 6 overtime winner in the Stanley Cup Finals. The thought of it still makes me smile.
I miss Mallex
Ernest Hooper, columnist/assistant sports editor, @hoop4you: I fall hard and fast for Rays players. I’ve yet to learn this is such a bad habit with a team constantly remaking its roster. Admittedly, most of the team’s decisions have worked in its favor. They lead with the brain, not the heart, so the departures of Evan Longoria, Stephen Souza Jr., Corey Dickerson, Denard Span and even long-gone Matt Joyce (he was Seffner’s own) appear to be working in the Rays favor. Still, I miss them and I really miss Mallex Smith, my Tallahassee homeboy. I remember his mom being a track star when I was in high school, and I’m one of the few who knows how to get to his real hometown: Capitola, population 37. He was a good player, a good guy and young enough I thought I would get the chance to see him continue to grow and prosper in a Rays uniform. I miss him already.
Rick Stroud, Bucs beat writer @NFLStroud: As trades go, this one had to be emotional for the Tampa Bay Rays. Dealing Evan Longoria and his salary to the San Francisco Giants was the right thing to do. But there has been no more important player to the Rays. Longoria led that team to an American League title and to the World Series. He did it with class and consistency. He was a complete player who won a gold glove at third base. When you went to the Trop, you knew No. 3 would be in the lineup nearly every game. The next number retired by the Rays should be his.