Fans ask burning Lightning questions
St. Petersburg Times hockey writer Damian Cristodero took questions about the team for more than an hour during an online chat Thursday at tampabay.com. Here are highlights:
What moves do you think the club needs to make and what moves do you think it'll actually make in the offseason?
If Tampa Bay does nothing else in the offseason, it has to address its blue line. Figure Paul Ranger and Andrej Meszaros are there. The team sees Matt Smaby and Matt Lashoff as fifth, sixth or seventh defensemen at best. That means there is a lot of space to fill. Assuming Vinny Lecavalier returns, it also needs a top-six forward, but that is secondary.
Will Vinny Lecavalier be here next year? Vinny Prospal?
Prospal will be here because there is no market for his contract given his production. Lecavalier is a tough call. The owners understand his value to the community and realize he was not 100 percent this season. But the team has finished last in the division two years in a row with him. It could have been just as bad without him.
What would you expect in return for Lecavalier? Which team has the best pieces to offer and would seriously consider a trade?
Keep the Kings in mind. They have a top-five draft pick to give back and good, young players such as Jack Johnson, Alexander Frolov and Oscar Moller. The Avalanche is believed to be sniffing around, too, as well as the Rangers.
If you could have changed one thing about any actions this organization-team took from the time the new ownership group took over, what would it be?
Well, it made a terrible initial choice for a coach. Barry Melrose, as we found out, was just not prepared for the game as it is played today. The Dan Boyle trade was a disaster, of course. I wouldn't be opposed to trading Boyle, but whoever did the scouting that led to what Tampa Bay got in return did a lousy job.
Check out the entire chat here.
Join Bucs reporter Rick Stroud for a chat about the NFL draft at blogs.tampabay.com/bucs.