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)

Tough decisions could be lurking for Tampa Bay Lightning roster

General manager Brian Lawton insists it is time to give the Lightning roster a chance to prove itself. So, assuming nothing big falls into his lap, Lawton said, he foresees no significant changes for the time being.

Oh, he might tinker around the edges, he said, "But I'm comfortable with this group of players. We're going to see what they can do."

That doesn't mean tough decisions won't be made. There might be many, and sooner rather than later.

Consider:

Tampa Bay's roster is at the 23-player limit. But center Chris Gratton (knee), left wing Gary Roberts (groin), left wing Matt Pettinger (knee) and left wing David Koci (hand) are on injured reserve. Center Jeff Halpern (knee) is on long-term disability. None counts against the roster.

Getting any of them back on the ice means creating space on a roster also recently peppered with youngsters — defenseman Matt Smaby and forwards Steve Downie, Paul Szczechura and Radek Smolenak — who added a needed jolt of energy and whom coach Rick Tocchet has consistently been talking up.

All of the sudden, tinkering around the edges is more like major surgery.

It's a nice problem to have, and the youngsters can be sent back to AHL Norfolk without clearing waivers if the realities of paying guaranteed veteran contracts become too much to ignore.

But is the easiest route the most prudent?

Halpern, who said he could be ready by either Dec. 18 or 20, is a no-brainer. He must be in the lineup. But given the lack of production of some of the veterans, and as long as the kids don't come too far back to earth, perhaps more debate will be held than would have been otherwise.

Tough decisions could be lurking for Tampa Bay Lightning roster 12/06/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 10:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Storm routs Cleveland

    Storm

    TAMPA — Alvin Ray Jackson intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and recovered two fumbles as the Storm routed Cleveland 57-27 Saturday night in its home regular-season finale at Amalie Arena.

  2. Miscue sends Rays to another stinging loss to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays gave away DJ Kitty onesies Saturday night. Then they gave away the game.

    Rays centerfielder Mallex Smith misses a drive hit by Adrian Beltre with two outs in the sixth, allowing the tying runs to score. Beltre puts Texas ahead 4-3 when he scores after two wild pitches.
  3. Rowdies shut out Charleston

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies know a thing or two about stalemates, with five of their past 10 games ending in a draw.

    Rowdies in the first half during the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday, Jul 22, 2017.
  4. Rays journal: Former closer Sergio Romo acquired from Dodgers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays made a move to help the bullpen Saturday night when they acquired RHP Sergio Romo, who had been designated for assignment last week by the Dodgers.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi (23) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, July 7, 2017.
  5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. backs wife's "not worth risk'' opinion on Daytona

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Saturday defended his wife's Twitter post — and blamed himself for putting her in a position where she believed she had to speak out and upset some of his fans.

    Amy Earnhardt worries about Dale Jr.’s concussions.