Never fear, faithful Sons: I am alive. True, this is my first piece in six weeks. However, in that time I’ve graduated from college and been on a few whirlwind adventures. Though it breaks my heart that the Lightning didn’t make the postseason, this time just before the draft is when things get exciting again.
Today came with good news and bad news as Damian Cristodero (@LightningTimes) reported that in addition to the re-signings of Adam Hall and J.T. Wyman, the team is out of the running for Swiss star Damien Brunner.
I’ll start with Brunner. It’s definitely disappointing to lose out on a talented player, but as we have seen in the past, sometimes these Euro stars just don’t translate to the NHL. Fabian Brunnstrom comes to mind. It will be interesting to see where Brunner ends up (Pittsburgh is reportedly also out of the running) and I wish him nothing but the best.
On to Hall and Wyman. Both proved their worth on the lower lines this season and are worthy of these deals. Wyman’s contract is a two-way deal, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him do a bit of shuffling between Tampa and Syracuse next season. Hall is a dependable veteran who is good in the faceoff circle and on the PK. His leadership and mentoring will be very important for young guys like Dana Tyrell.
As mentioned in the title, I feel that this might be it as far as forward signings. The Lightning currently have nine forwards under one-way contracts. Young guys competing for roster spots like J.T. Brown, Brett Connolly, Cory Conacher, PC Labrie, and Alex Killorn all have two-way deals. Ryan Shannon has left to go overseas and I don’t foresee a contract for Tim Wallace. There are a few free agents out there who could be intriguing (Mikael Samuelsson, Ray Whitney, PA Parenteau), but most of the top flight forwards don’t fit in to the Lightning’s cap situation (Zach Parise, Alex Semin).
There is a lot of time remaining for things to happen, though. The draft kicks off in one week and, with a slew of picks in hand, Steve Yzerman has a lot of options. The defense and goaltending positions still need to be shored up. As I said previously, it’s disappointing to miss the playoffs, but hockey is getting exciting again.