Stirring the Pot: Lightning Goaltending

Let me preface this: In my opinion, the Mike Smith trade was the worst transaction in team history, and I was not terribly impressed with the Dan Ellis signing either.

With that in mind, it’s important that we, as Lightning fans, do not overreact to what is going on in net right now.  The biggest reason being that we’re stuck with it. It’s not going to change.

There has been a rather large uproar lately about trading now for a legitimate number-one goalie.  In some cases, in fact, calling for whatever it takes to land one. It’s not going to happen.  That is exactly the knee-jerk reaction we were told Steve Yzerman would not make, regardless of the success or failure of the team.

Yzerman has made good on everything else he has said so far in his short tenure as GM of the Lightning, why would he change that because of a terrible stretch of goaltending?  Ongoing debate about team playoff expectations aside, Yzerman has made it clear that he is going to develop the entire organization from top to bottom, over time.  Why clear out part of the cupboard that has been so painfully barren in years past, when it is just now starting to get restocked?  Especially considering that Mike Smith is (thankfully) coming off the books at season’s end.

The other side to the goalie acquisition debate is simply the matter of timing and logic. No team that has any sort of true upgrade in net has fallen in the standings enough to be sellers already. 

In general, the catcalls I’ve heard are that since Mike Smith has been given the inside track to the starting role time and again in his stint with the Lightning that he should be the first to go. But let’s be honest here, if no one was interested in Mike Smith before this season when Stevie was cleaning house on poor contracts and spare parts, why on Earth would they be interested now? For the sake of argument, let’s suppose a team was interested in trading for Smith. It would surely require a package deal to move him.  What are most teams going to want as the rest of that package? The same types of players we want, the same types we don’t have enough of: Young puck moving defensemen, gritty depth guys, and potential top–six forward prospects. 

For better worse or for worse, Mike Smith and Dan Ellis will be our guys this season.  We may see Cedrick Desjardins or Dustin Tokarski here or there, especially when Mike Smith’s next inevitable annoying injury strikes, but by and large, we’re stuck with Mike and Dan.

Believe in Steve. Believe in the process.  Remember that we haven’t had a team goals-against average under 3.08 since 2004 when we won the Cup.  Being in contention in early December should not make this stretch any harder to stomach.

If nothing else, just embrace the fact that the Lightning have a record above .500... and for now, a save percentage above .500 too.

This post was written by a member of the Raw Charge community and does not necessarily represent or express the views or opinions of Raw Charge staff.

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