New GM Steve Yzerman continued rebuilding the Tampa Bay Lightning roster this offseason with addition of forward Simon Gagne in a trade for defensiveman Matt Walker and a 2011 fourth round pick. This adds another piece to an already impressive group of forwards for new coach Guy Boucher.
With Gagne, Vincent Lecavalier, Marty St Louis, and young superstar Steven Stamkos, the Lightning now have four players who have scored 40 goals in a season.
“I’m very excited right now,” Gagne said. “I’m looking at this opportunity as a new challenge and a new start. Tampa Bay was a team I was more than willing to waive my no-move clause for. I really like the direction the team is headed in with a solid owner, Steve Yzerman as GM and Coach (Guy) Boucher. I’m really looking forward to playing with guys like Lecavalier, Stamkos and St. Louis. I’m excited to be a member of the Lightning, and I’m looking forward to starting next season in Tampa Bay.”
Yzerman also added a couple of solid blue liners in Pavel Kubina and Brett Clark.
Kubina came over from Atlanta and is very familiar with the Tampa Bay area as he was part of the Cup winning team in 2004. Clark was with Colorado for five years and was a solid guy on the back line. Neither guy will light up the stat sheet but they should be stabilizing influences on the young talented blue liners Victor Hedman, Mike Lundin and Matt Smaby.
I am not sure of another team that has improved more quietly than the Bolts. So heading into training camp, the playoffs are now a very realistic goal for this franchise.