As the roster continues to build, it's the time of year when we're forced to sit and wait to see who'll be back in the fall. Of course, we all have our favorites. Thinking back to last season, we ask:
Which Tampa Bay Lightning player from 2010-11 do you want to see return next season and why?
Below the jump are answers from the staff at Raw Charge (I said I'd give them a prize if they answered, but that was actually a lie). See our answers below, and tell us what you think! (Though sorry, no prizes for you either.)
I would like to see the Lightning re-sign Mike Lundin. Besides the fact that he typifies the exact sort of defenseman that head coach Guy Boucher wants in his 1-3-1 system, he's just a solid, all-around player. He's constantly put against top offensive lines and has quietly proven himself a great defenseman time and again. I think that the team would be far better off with him than without him.
Like many, I became a big fan of Sean Bergenheim this season. He made key contribuiions to the team's great season, but more importantly, he did it the way we'd all like to see happen more often. After struggling to get his career off the ground, he came in with nothing more than a league minimum contract and an opportunity to show what he could do. In response, he worked hard and turned it around. Now he deserves to cash in. I just hope they figure out a way to make it happen in Tampa Bay.
Everyone (fans) is clamoring for #91 to be re-signed, and of course we all want him to return... But the player who I want back under contract, to see what he does for an encore, is Teddy Purcell.
Purcell is just hitting his stride now. We saw flashes of what he was capable of after his acquisition from the LA Kings in 2010, and for a time this season he was all over the place concerning line duties. Yet, Teddy and captain Vincent Lecavalier started playin together, and sparks started flying. Or more like points.
Purcell is part of this club, going forward. I really want to see the end result of a full, consistent season of play with Lecavalier (or other top linemates).
Matt "Don't Trade Vinny" Amos:
Other than Stamkos, which is obvious, one of my biggest hopes was that Adam Hall would return. And, wouldn't ya know it, he just signed a new contract. In our Raw Charge awards, I voted for Hall for the Selke award, and I really liked his play this past season. On a team with an often suspect defense, to have a defensive center of the caliber is vital. So glad to see that deal get done.
I would love to see Dwayne Roloson come back. I don't know how much longer he'll be effective at the NHL level, but hold onto this guy while he can still provide high quality goaltending and leadership. I would love to actually go into a season not doubting the goaltending on this club, because, let's face it, it's been a really long time since the Lightning have had a real high quality returnee in goal. When was the last year you felt just great about Tampa Bay's keeper. 2003?
Prospects are developing to provide back up, and hopefully grow into the next round of starters. But let's go with a known product, shall we? If Mike Smith will sign at $800,000, bring him back too. But it's Roloson this club needs. They haven't had calming veteran leadership like his since Dave Andreychuk retired.
There are actually several players from the 2010-11 team I would like to see return to the Lightning for the upcoming season, and I'll leave out the absolute obvious necessity of re-signing RFA-to-be Steven Stamkos (although I still think that will get done before July 1). First off, I'd like to see them re-sign Eric Brewer for the defense as well as Mike Lundin. I know Lundin is scheduled to be an RFA not a UFA, but I would still like to see him come back. Brewer was a solidifying force on the blue line and the combination of Brewer and Ohlund (even though he's lost a step or three) was a big reason that the much maligned defense played so well in the playoff run. He would make a welcome addition to the team for a full season.
On the front line, I'd like to see Teddy Purcell re-signed. Purcell developed some nice chemistry with Vinny Lecavalier over the past season and he played well enough to earn top 6 minutes. He's got an underestimated shot, in my opinion, and doesn't hurt himself defensively either. If the Lightning are unable to re-sign Bergenheim, re-signing Purcell becomes that much more important, and easier, as he is an RFA.