First Cuts?

According to numerous published reports it appears the Lightning will be cutting 7 players from their roster after Saturday's preseason game against the Caps. Here's my initial thoughts on the seven who will go (subject to change based on performance in the Washington game, of course):

D Jay Leach
The only buzz in camp for Leach was for almost fighting Shane O'Brien.

D David Schneider
Undersized defenseman had a good camp. He'll be the power play anchor in Norfolk and have to earn his way up the ranks.

W Norm Milley
Hasn't done anything of note in camp. Will likely play on Norfolk's second line heading into the season.

C Blair Jones
Hasn't gained any traction in camp and has been overshadowed by the Craig MacDonald vs. Ryan Craig sideshow. Looks like he'll be Norfolk's #1 center entering the AHL season.

D Bryce Lampman
He had a solid 20+ minute performance in the preseason game against Dallas, but it may not be enough to save him after a quiet camp. If Jancevski falls off the bubble with a poor game against the Caps, he could possibly get second life.

D Mike Lundin
He improved his stock significantly in the past two weeks, but I don't think Torts keeps anyone he isn't seriously considering for a spot in Tampa in the final 26. The good news for Lundin is, he's probably sewed up his spot in Norfolk. There was some doubt on that front heading into Traverse City.

W/C Karl Stewart
He hits everything that moves, but with all the force of a Nerf dart. Kyle Wanvig's strong camp and preseason game against Dallas probably burst Stewart's bubble.

That means Mathieu Darche, Kyle Wanvig, Craig MacDonald, Karri Ramo, Matt Smaby, Dan Jancevski, and Doug Janik would all survive the first wave of cuts.

What do you all think?

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Sounds right...

I agree on most points, although personally I think all the talk of MacDonald vs. Craig is overblown. IMO, from the day the Bolts signed MacDonald he was being looked at as a serious candidate to center the 4th line in Taylor's absence. Especially since there was all the talk of giving Karlsson a shot a more responsibilities either on a 3rd line or a scoring line.

I agree the biggest headscratcher to date is where Ryan Craig is going to fit in at even strength. Reports from camp have been favorable for the Tarnasky-MacDonald-Roy line. Saturday night's game against Washington may seal the future of this energy line combination.

I guess I'm still suspicious of the Jan Hlavac experiment working out, and the even strength forward lines will end up looking something like:


IMO, Hlavac (as opposed to MacDonald) is the forward that needs to have a big game against Washington.


Don't be too quick to get him out of the lineup.

He sounded "involved" tonight on the radio - which isn't much to go on, obviously, however, apparently Torts singled him out today saying Hlavac's always played on trap teams and he expect him to take a fair bit of time to learn the system.

It's early. No big games necessary just yet. It also helps him that Torts is already in his corner.

I'll agree with you

If any of those stay longer, it will be Stewart based on the compensation given for him. Craig/McDonald is really a non-issue, I think. Perhaps it's Tort's way of tweaking Craig for thinking "selfishly" by taking the club through arbitration. That's based on Tort's previous diatribes of other players taking the money. We have a pretty good idea what Craig will provide including throwing a bit of weight around.

The d'men battle is in the outcome of the Janik/Smaby battle for the 6 spot. If Janik wins, Smaby goes to Norfolk for experience and Jancevski likely stays at #7. If Smaby wins, Janik provides an experienced #7. I'll spend my time watching Smaby alot tomorrow night.

The goalie situation? Can they trade either Denis/Holmquist before camp ends? It's totally unpredictable what we'll get out of those two this season. Both could have good sasons. Both could have totally unacceptable seasons.

Smaby and Goaltending

[b]I really like the idea of Smaby as the #6 with Brad this will give them some smack. Although, he might not be the fastest he has sufficient speed and knows how to clear the puck on a pass not the desperation of the Former Sarich/Pratt team. I will be watching tonight for further development. I did attend one of the scrims and what I noted was the following with Smaby: Strong on the boards, uses the body, stood players up at the blue line. Combine this with the trib article today from the coaching tandem on the change in style from retreat and poke to stop at the blue line and compete. This young baby fits right in.

For all the naysayers- the goaltending will be better for three simple reasons. 1. The tenders are playing better. Denis has been sharp, still not thrilled with the fish flopping between the pipes when the puck is in close but MUCH better positioning than last year. 2. Ramo - IS A STUD. Two things you can't teach goaltenders: innate sense of where the puck is and the penchant to grab the puck versus the constant rebound. He has both of those qualities in spades. At the scrim I attended both Marty and Vinny had covered shots from the top of the circle and he stopped both of the shots. Vinny's was highlight reel variety with the kick save across the crease. His confidence and desire to compete reminds me of a young Brodeur or Patrick Roy. On bay news 9 the other night the Chief made mention of the same traits and stated don't be surprised if he is in net for good. 3. Holmer has looked the weakest of the three goalies and he was not all that bad last year.

Conclusion: If the best goalie looks to be the worst at the beginning of the year and the 'D' is no longer going to back up and do the hoky poky, let um in the crease dance this team will be just fine.

My best case scenario is Denis and Holmer hold the fort thru jan and Ramo goes to Norfolk gets the 15 - 20 games of every day experience. Then at the trade deadline we use either Denis or Holmer for the bait and bring the kid up. If either of the Goalies falter - You bring the kid up and don't wait, think Cam Ward type scenario.... Lot's of things happen during any given year, injuries players fall off the table, age too quickly we should be just fine. How deep we go depends on how all the new pieces fit. Oulette, Hvalac, Karlson, Grats Luk, Smaby , and O'brien his first full year.

Can't wait for the real thing..... Go Bolts.

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