Make us your home page

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 must find a No. 1 goaltender this offseason

TAMPA — What kind of a summer does Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman face?

"It's huge," coach Guy Boucher said. "Everybody knows it's huge."

For pretty much one reason: Yzerman must find a No. 1 goaltender.

Asked where that is on his to-do-list, Yzerman chuckled.

"We'll look at ways to improve our team," he said Monday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. "We'll take a couple of weeks to consider our options and make some plans at that time."

One thing is sure, the Lightning cannot go another season with the league's worst goals-against average (3.34) and save percentage (.889).

Also assume this: Yzerman would love to acquire Vancouver's Cory Schneider.

It is a big if as the Canucks likely are more inclined to trade Roberto Luongo, though given his 12-year, $64 million contract that is a non-starter.

Schneider also is a potential restricted free agent, so acquiring him would mean a trade. And he will be high in demand, so the price will be high.

Good thing Yzerman has two first-round choices in the June draft and up to four second rounders to help construct a deal.

Because the organization lacks depth at the NHL level, Yzerman, speaking generally, acknowledged any big trade likely will include high-end prospects.

"You have to pay something that's going to be significant," he said.

Players will be watching, particularly Marty St. Louis who turns 37 in June.

"As you get older you want a whack at the playoffs and games in late May and early June and I think Steve knows that," St. Louis said. "If I didn't believe we could be playing those games next year, maybe I'd think about playing somewhere else.

"But I fully believe we can be in the battle next June because I know what Steve can bring. So, I'm optimistic … and we'll see where the summer goes."

Why is Schneider the first choice? Because he fits the criteria Yzerman wants for his No. 1.

He is young (26 in March), so he can grow with Tampa Bay's young stars. Though a backup, he has been in the NHL two full seasons so he understands what it takes to be in the league. And he is successful: 38-17-4 in 68 games with a 2.24 GAA and .928 save percentage.

Plan B might be Los Angeles' Jonathan Bernier or Nashville's Anders Lindback. Given what is available in free agency, do not expect Yzerman to go that route.

Mathieu Garon has one more year on his contract, but his best role is as a backup.

"We'll definitely be watching," captain Vinny Lecavalier said. "(Yzerman) knows what he's doing. I'm not worried where this organization is going."

"We don't have a plan as of yet," Yzerman said. "Once the playoffs are over, we'll see what's out there and who's looking for what. At the end of the day, if there's not deal that makes sense, we have two (first-round draft choices) and possibly four seconds."

Not quite the same as a No. 1 goalie.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at

Tampa Bay Lightning must find a No. 1 goaltender this offseason 04/09/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 2:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Family a driving force for University of Tampa pitcher David Lebron


    TAMPA — For University of Tampa junior pitcher David Lebron, baseball reminds him of family. He uses it to help honor the memory of his father, who taught him the game. One day, he hopes his career can help support his mother and allow her to rest.

    University of Tampa junior pitcher David Lebron (Courtesy of University of Tampa)
  2. L.A. delay could re-open Super Bowl chance for Tampa in 2021


    Construction delays on the NFL's new stadium in Los Angeles mean the Rams and Chargers won't be playing there until 2020, a year later than expected, and the ripple effect could give Tampa another chance at landing a Super Bowl in February 2021.

    Tampa and Raymond James Stadium last hosted a Super Bowl in 2009, when the Pittsburgh Steelers edged the Arizona Cardinals.
  3. Bucs' Gerald McCoy, Jameis Winston honored in NFL top 100


    Helping fans pass time through the offseason each summer, NFL Network has been unveiling its top 100 players for 2017 as chosen by the players, and the Bucs' Gerald McCoy and Jameis Winston are the first Tampa Bay players revealed, coming in at No. 52 and 57, respectively.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis WInston and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, shown in the 2016 season finale against the Panthers, have both been named to the NFL Network's top 100 players for 2017.
  4. The play occurred in the third inning when Angels rookie Nolan Fontana, making his major league debut, tried to slide past the tag of Rays second baseman Michael Martinez.
  5. Former Gator Caleb Brantley paying a steep price for nothing


    It turns out Caleb Brantley isn't quite the dirtbag that millions of people presumed. It's too bad the damage to his reputation and bank account is already done.

    Caleb Brantley, who dropped to the sixth round of the draft, works out during Browns rookie minicamp. [Associated Press]