Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Lightning forwards need motivational tool

Lightning coach Rick Tocchet is a big proponent of the merit system: do the right things in a game, win puck battles, play within the system, you stay on the ice. It is why David Hale, for now, has nudged Kurtis Foster from the top six on defense.

Tampa Bay could use that kind of push among its forwards.

But with just 12 on the roster, each is almost guaranteed some playing time. Tocchet once went with 11 forwards and seven defense­men in a game when he was disappointed in the play of left wing Todd Fedoruk, but that puts a greater strain on the forwards playing.

A 13th forward and, by extension, the threat of being benched would be another hammer for Tocchet to wield.

Not that players aren't giving their all. But as Hale said of the blue line, "There's competition to get in the lineup, and you have to play your best to get there. You can't get comfortable."

How, then, is the merit system applied among forwards?

"Right now, I have ice time," Tocchet said.

The problem is, the Lightning has nine defensemen. Add two goaltenders, and with a 23-player roster limit, there is no room for another forward.

Even Tocchet said, "We're going to have to rectify that," when asked about the blue line glut in which three players are scratched for each game. That's more than $2.5 million in salary on the bench, not a good equation for a team that has to watch its budget. But beyond that, it limits the Lightning's options in another area.

Trading one defenseman for even a low draft choice — and it appears the likely candidate is Lukas Krajicek, who is being paid $1.475 million and has played just two games — would open a spot for a 13th forward.

Granted, it's not an easy trade to make. Krajicek's market value isn't high right now. But something has to give on the blue line. Until then, the forwards are capped at 12. And the Lightning lacks a tool for motivation.

Tampa Bay Lightning forwards need motivational tool 10/24/09 [Last modified: Saturday, October 24, 2009 10:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Fennelly: Dirk Koetter's apology no way to keep this fidget spinning

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It all began with a fidget spinner.

    This tweet from the Bucs, mocking the Falcons' 28-3 lead they lost in the Super Bowl against the Falcons, prompted a public apology from head coach Dirk Koetter, who called it "unprofessional and not smart."
  2. Perfection's not easy in baseball, just ask Calvary Christian

    Baseballpreps

    CLEARWATER — Of the more than 300 varsity high school baseball teams in Florida, only one has won every game this season: Calvary Christian. The Warriors are a perfect 28-0.

    Calvary Christian's Matheu Nelson (63) prepares to take an at bat during the first inning of Wednesday's (5/10/17) region baseball semifinal game between Trinity Prep and Calvary Christian in Clearwater.
  3. Rays shut out Angels to cap homestand, get back to .500 (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays completed their seven-game homestand Thursday with a 4-0 victory against the Angels, a win that moved them back to .500 for the season.

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) after they score on the single by center fielder Colby Rasmus (28) in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Thursday, May 25, 2017.
  4. Bucs suspended RB Doug Martin breaks his silence and says his drug problem is 'definitely behind me.'

    Blogs

    He would not talk about the drug he abused. He didn’t identify the rehab facility he entered last January or how long he was there.

    Doug Martin was contrite but optimistic about returning to the form he demonstrated as the NFL's second leading rusher two years ago.
  5. Kickoff times announced for Florida-Michigan, FSU-Alabama

    Blogs

    College football's blockbuster Sept. 2 season openers finally have kickoff times.