It’s been a much tougher second season for neophyte GM Steve Yzerman. I thought he made a lot of good bets in his first summer in Tampa Bay, but this off-season was mostly spent grappling with Stamkos’ contract extension and bleeding away some of the better, middle-tier pieces he had the year before. Bergenheim left, Gagne left and Mike Smith is suddenly a capable starter in the PHX.
Throw in the recent St. Louis injury, Roloson finally playing his age and Lecavalier proving to be grossly overpaid and you have a bit of a mess. The Bolts deph up front is limited and no one on the club is a proven ES performer in terms of possession.
Stamkos is a dangerous sniper and is a guy to look out for on the PP, but he’s not a player who can play at both ends with aplomb yet. The Flames have a good chance at vicotry tonight if they can play mostly at ES and keep the kid off the scoreboard.