I was reading comments on Eric Erlendsson's Bolt Report blog pertaining to the roster moves from Friday (Affy and Karlsson put on waivers). While some of the comments focused on defense entirely, Boltsmag regular (well, before I was too lazy to post and give her a reason to visit :p) Marsha chimed in to close out the comments on said post:
Well I’ll continue to be hard on Jay Feaster because he gave away Fredrik Modin for an unproven goalie on a lousy team. IMHO, Richie’s slump has as much to do with missing Modo as with the extra pressure of his big bucks. Modin gave the Bolts needed spark on the forecheck. Prospal and Feds have been trying to make up the difference, and that is likely the reason they’re not in position to score as much as they did last season.
While I don't necessarily agree Denis was "unproven", what struck a cord in me was bringing up Fredrik Modin's departure from the team and some of the things that it has effected.
It was one thing that Marsha didn't mention that resonates with me though, one thing Freddie helped cover for the Lightning that should be the absolute first noticeable folly of the current Tampa Bay Lightning:
Modin was as much a two-way forward for the Lightning as he was a power forward with a booming slapshot and an affinity to drive to the net.
Modin contributed to the Lightning's power play and penalty kill units, stabilizing them. Modin's seasonal plus-minus was only twice ended up negative during his six seasons with the Lightning -- during the 1999-00 campaign (-26) and the 2000-01 season (-1). Note that Modin was playing for what was playing for a perennial 50-loss team at the time he came into Tampa Bay, surrounded by cast offs, has beens and potential-unrealized players.
I know Tampa Bay's defense is the focus of what is wrong with the Bolts right now, but is the answer bringing in another veteran defensiveman or bringing in a defensive forward and allowing the Lightning defensive prospects a chance to earn a job? A defense learning on the go might hurt the Lightning this season, but long term it prepares them to fill voids left by departing members of the defensive core.
The Lightning need more help than just on D -- another winger that contributes both ways would be optimal. It'll take more than one high priced defensivemen on the market to clear up problems behind the blue line.