Saturday, August 30, 2008

Lightning trade: 2 defensemen for 1

There's good news, and then there's bad news. The good news? The Tampa Bay Lightning have gotten below the salary cap. And the bad news? The average age of the defensemen currently listed on their website's roster is 23 years old. The oldest is 26 (Niskala), and the youngest is 20 (Quick).

Haven't these guys heard the saying that "defense wins games?"

The average age of their forwards is 27 years old - and that's including the two outliers of 40 (Recchi), and 42 (Roberts). Without them, that number drops to a little over 26 years old. That is, of course, including all 27 forwards listed on their roster as of today.

That's a 4-year discrepancy between the defense and the forwards, which actually isn't all that unusual. Although, typically, it goes the other way around. The defense us usually around 5 years older than the forwards since it usually takes longer for defensemen to learn their jobs.

It makes me wonder if they're going to take the avant-garde approach of fielding 4 forwards and one defenseman during even-strength situtions.

Yeah, I don't know about this. I mean, I'm all for doing revolutionary things - since I'm pretty much a revolutionary at heart - but this just doesn't make any sense to me. And it probably doesn't make much sense to many other people, either.

This is not 1984, you know. The Lightning are not the Oilers, Lecavalier is not Gretzky, St. Louis is not Kurri, Prospal is not Messier, and Smith is not Fuhr. They will have a very hard time winning in 2008 (and 2009, for that matter) if all they have is scoring and goaltending. And that's assuming no key personnel gets injured along the way.

The defense is shaping up to be a very good one - in about 3-5 years. It's takes a while for a defenseman in the NHL to figure out where he needs to be and what he needs to do before he's competent in his job and his position. It's not their fault that they're inexperienced, but that's still going to make everyone's jobs that much more difficult to do.

And as for the forwards, what in the world are the Lightning going to do with them all? From what I understand, most of them have one-way contracts. The most likely option is to put some on waivers, so they can be sent down.

Can you imagine any of the established players being okay with being sent down to the minors, tho? This isn't baseball, you know. And then to just let them be picked up without getting anything in return? That's just poor business sense right there.

Another question for me is, what exactly does Melrose think about this? And does he have any say in it? If his authority is already compromised by the ownership, then that's not going to be a very good situation - not for anybody involved, including the fans.

If only the ownership would take a minute and explain their team-building philosophy, then I think that would make everyone feel better about it.

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