Friday, 15 January 2016

Lightning Might Have Something Special with the Namestnikov/Stamkos Duo

I wrote last weekend about Vladislav Namestnikov's emergence this year and how important it has been for the Tampa Bay Lightning.  It's been important from an on-ice perspective during a year when so many players have struggled, but it's also vitally important from a big-picture perspective.  Consider the following:
It's an interesting thought, and in this blogger's opinion it's right on the money.  The fact of the matter is that trading Drouin means losing a young, promising offensive player.  Having another young, promising offensive player in Namestnikov on the roster makes the thought of that loss more palatable, especially if the return for Drouin is reasonably substantial as expected.  I'm not saying that a Drouin trade is the best thing for Tampa, just that it might be easier to swallow now than it would have been before Namestnikov decided to go full superhero.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Namestnikov's Emergence is Key for Tampa Bay

There hasn’t been much to get excited about in Tampa Bay Lightning-land so far this season.  Aside from the odd happening, things have been fairly bleak for a while now.  With that said, one of the more exciting things to watch this year has been the emergence of Vladislav Namesnikov, the team’s first round pick from the 2011 draft. 

While some observers might point to his 16 points through 41 games this season and suggest that he hasn’t grown since putting up 16 points in 43 games last season, the reality is that he has taken huge strides forward.  The bottom line: Namestnikov is proving that he has what it takes to be a legitimate top-six forward at the National Hockey League level.  And that’s great news for the Lightning, especially when you consider that the team could very well be without Steven Stamkos and Jonathan Drouin by the time the 2016-17 season rolls around.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Drouin's Trade Request Goes Public

News broke yesterday that Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin wants out.  His agent, Allan Walsh, went public with the request:

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Some Thoughts on the Drouin Demotion

Jonathan Drouin was sent down to the Syracuse Crunch today.  And, according to Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune, he wasn't too happy about it:
Erlendsson also had the opportunity to grab quotes about the move from both head coach Jon Cooper and general manager Steve Yzerman.  From his Tribune piece this morning:

"This is specifically to get him some playing time," said Yzerman.
"We have to go get him some games," said Cooper.

The motive here appears to be fairly clear: Yzerman wants him to play.  It sounds like a nice and noble goal on the surface, but does the way in which the team is going about it make a lot of sense?  Not even a little bit.