Here’s our Mount Rushmore for the Lightning

The Lightning's Mount Rushmore (from left): Marty St. Louis, Vinny Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos, Brian Bradley. [Times files]
The Lightning's Mount Rushmore (from left): Marty St. Louis, Vinny Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos, Brian Bradley. [Times files]
Published July 13, 2018|Updated July 13, 2018

The Lightning just celebrated its 25th anniversary season — long enough to have a Mount Rushmore.

Here it is:

Marty St. Louis (2000-14)

St. Louis is the all-time franchise leader in points and the only Lightning player to make the Hall of Fame after spending the bulk of his career in Tampa Bay. His overtime goal in the 2004 finals remains the greatest moment in franchise history, and his number hangs from the rafters at Amalie Arena.

Vinny Lecavalier (1998-2013)

Despite St. Louis' accolades, if you ask any Lightning fan to name the all-time face of the franchise and the answer might be unanimous: Vinny Lecavalier. He's the franchise's all-time leader in games played and was a four-time all-star in Tampa Bay. He was the Lightning's first, dare we say, superstar.

Steven Stamkos (2008-present)

There's no doubt that Steven Stamkos is a superstar. Despite two serious leg injuries, as well as a life-threatening blood clot, Stamkos has been one of the game's elite goal-scorers during his 10-year career. Barring unforeseen circumstances, he will eventually go down the franchise's all-time leader in games, goals and points.

Brian Bradley (1992-98)

The guy who knocked Dave Andreychuck off the mount? We go with Tampa Bay's first all-star: Brian Bradley. His Lightning career wasn't that long. Just six seasons, cut short by concussions. Still, he was the Lightning's first-ever all-star in 1993, which was his 42-goal season during the Lightning's inaugural campaign. He still ranks fourth in franchise history in points-per-game average at 0.91.

Missed the mount

Let's start with the most difficult omission. That would be "The Captain.''  Ultimately, the reason Andreychuk didn't make the cut is because he spent only four of his 23 NHL seasons in Tampa Bay. He had a big impact here. Maybe the Lightning doesn't win the Cup without him. Still, his short tenure and absence on the Lightning all-time records leaders has him just missing.

Brad Richards would not have looked out of place. And, if we do this list in 10 years, Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov will make strong cases.

Editor's Note: News of Lightning great Marty St. Louis' impending induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame got those of us in the Times sports department thinking: If Tampa Bay had a Mount Rushmore of sports, who would be on it? You can read columnist Tom Jones' answer to that here, but we didn't want to stop there. We also picked Mount Rushmores for each major league franchise in our market, a bay-area colleges Mount and one for individual sports. 

You can share your thoughts about our selections in the comment sections or on our Facebook page.