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 increase its defensive depth

If the Lightning ever decides to trade Vinny Lecavalier, a key could be the quality of defensemen it gets in return. Regardless of how the soap opera plays out, Tampa Bay must be committed to rebuilding a blue line thin throughout the organization.

How thin? Consider the team is wary of calling up Mike Lundin from AHL Norfolk because he could be lost through recall waivers.

And consider the Lightning apparently has decided its best option on defense, until people get healthy, is forward David Koci. Okay, so Koci is a former defenseman, converted by the Blackhawks, and it is a way to keep the enforcer in the lineup. But he has played better than Vladimir Mihalik, who has been up and down from the minors.

The point is, after so many years of terrible drafting, the cupboard, generally, is bare in Norfolk. The big team, too, lacks a shutdown presence and since the Dan Boyle trade has struggled with its transition game.

That is why you hear names such as bruising Mike Komisarek as someone the Lightning might be interested in if trade talks with the Canadiens about Vinny ever got serious.

It is why Tampa Bay apparently has had interest in Maple Leafs defenseman Ian White.

And it is why, in a perverse way, you can lament the team's recent upturn because finishing last in the league likely would mean drafting 6-foot-7 Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman No. 1.

Nothing against the current group of blue-liners. They give their all, and against the Flyers on Thursday, the team proved that when the forwards help play as a five-man unit, good squads can be shut down. But there is no margin for error a seasoned defensive presence can provide.

Tampa Bay also needs more offense from its back line. Eight goals entering Saturday just doesn't cut it. White, by himself, entered Saturday with six.

It's simple, really. To move forward, the Lightning has to look back, to the defense.

Tampa Bay Lightning must increase its defensive depth 01/17/09 [Last modified: Monday, January 19, 2009 11:51am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Alex Volkov with a top-six showcase for Lightning


    Alex Volkov entered Lightning camp a bit of an unknown, the second-round pick from Russia in his first NHL camp.

    Alex Volkov (79) works to stop Florida Panthers center Denis Malgin (62) during the second period of Sunday's game in Tampa.
  2. How Jameis Winston's turnovers doomed the Bucs again


    The Bucs' rise or fall is based on the play of quarterback Jameis Winston. His failure to take care of the football was arguably the biggest factor in their 34-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings Sunday.

    Jameis Winston has turned the football over 25 times in 17 road games. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
  3. HomeTeam 25: Volleyball rankings for Tampa Bay

    Volleyball Preps

    1. Plant (6-1)

    Fivay's Kirbea Harrell leads her team in kills and digs this season. (Lance Rothstein, Times)
  4. NCAA coaches among 10 charged with fraud and corruption


    NEW YORK — Four college basketball coaches were among those facing federal charges Tuesday in a wide probe of fraud and corruption in the NCAA, authorities said.

    In this March 15, 2012, file photo, San Diego State assistant coach Tony Bland, left, talks during NCAA college basketball practice in Columbus, Ohio. Bland was identified in court papers, and is among 10 people facing federal charges in Manhattan federal court, Tuesday in a wide probe of fraud and corruption in the NCAA, authorities said. [AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File]