So, the Stanley Cup playoffs are in full swing and that can only mean one thing... The crowning of a new Stanley Cup Champion? No, it means Free Agent Signing day is fast approaching!
The Tampa Bay Lightning have a number of free agents this year and personally, I would like to see a few of them resigned. I'd like to see them resign our resident "faceoff shark" Adam Hall; I think Tim Wallace and J.T. Wyman merit another look with the team as well. The others? Well, I need to think about that a little bit more.
Now, I know that the new CBA (when implemented) will influence who is resigned and there is that little thing called a "salary cap" that will have some bearing on it as well, but for the purposes of this discussion neither of those things are being taken into consideration. I just want to know who you would like to see back with the Bolts for another year. I'm going on the assumption as well that the three RFAs will be resigned (the RFAs are Keith Aulie, Brendan Mikkelson and Brian Lee).
So, my question this week: Of the impending free agents the Lightning have (9 UFA, 3 RFA) which ones would you like to see the team resign?
And so you don't have to go look up the list, here it is: The 9 UFAs are: Tim Wallace, Dwayne Roloson, Ryan Shannon, Adam Hall, Sebastien Caron, J.T. Wyman, Brett Clark, Mike Comodore, Bruno Gervais. After the jump, see who the Raw Charge staff would like to see back.
John Fontana - Managing Editor
Let me start with the automatics – just getting the RFA’s back. You know two of the three were brought in as long-term cogs on defense (Lee and Aulie, acquired at the deadline) while Mikkelson served well with the Bolts after the team traded for him. He was simply supposed to be a big body/warm body on an injury-depleted defense and he was outright solid.
The UFA crop is another story: who do you keep around? Who is vital to the system and the Bolts moving forward?
I look at J.T. Wyman as the no-brainer re-signing. The Group 6 UFA had played all of one game at the NHL level before this season. He was called up as injuries mounted (…and of course, suffered his own injuries with the Bolts). But when Dana Tyrell went down for the season, J.T. showed he can fill that role on the fourth line and bring some spunk as well. You want him around.
People are not going to agree with this one, but I see Brett Clark being brought back. No, I’m not saying Clark should be brought back… But unless the Bolts see someone they can acquire via trade or free-agent signing that will be a shot-blocker on defense (to the extreme, at that), they will likely keep him around.
While I want blue-collar Adam Hall back, I can see the Lightning moving away from him for a younger option.
…Like Tim Wallace.
Hall is strong on face-offs, he’s been a great defensive forward for the Lightning, but I think we can all admit right now he’s not exactly a scoring wing. Wallace isn’t exactly a Selke Nominee in waiting, though (6 giveaways, 11 takeaways, 104 hits, and winning 40% of faceoffs). Maybe Tim shouldn’t be considered an alternative to Hall, but I’d re-sign him over Adam.
Ryan Shannon’s disappointing, injury-marred season doesn’t earn him new contract, even if it came at a much-reduced rate. Through the carousel of players coming and going from the Bolts (to and from Norfolk, in most instances), it seemed like everyone was able to chip in more often than Shannon when he was healthy.
Gervais? Commodore? They both would be the proverbial 7th and 8th defenseman on the roster (without including Mattias Ohlund, whose status remains in limbo). Unless the Bolts go free-agent shopping to replace Brett Clark, I don’t see the need to bring either player back. The Lightning system and free-agency could bring players on par with what Gervais and Commodore have to offer. Neither player is integral.
The last player I want to tackle on this list is Dwayne Roloson. The narrative is that the Lightning need a long-term answer in goal. If they can’t find one, or aren’t comfortable with who is available, I wouldn’t be against Roloson coming back as a backup to Matthieu Garon. That’s likely the option of last-resort though. I don’t expect Roloson back... But I’ll understand the circumstances if he does get re-signed.
Clare Austin - Staff Writer
Ryan Shannon, Ryan Shannon, Ryan Shannon
I'm making this case mostly because I don't think anyone else will and I don't really care all that much about how he was described when the team picked him up in the off season. I care about what he actually did.
On a team with craptacular Corsi/Fenwick/puck possession, Ryan Shannon has been at the top of the list all season. Consistently. He ended the season with 45 games played. Among players on the team with 10+ games, Shannon was 3rd in CorsiOn (1.91) and 7th in CorsiRel (7.0). The team played notably worse when he wasn't on the ice. He was 6th in CorsiQoC [that's quality of competition] (,585) and 9th in CorsiRelQoC (.664), meaning he faced tougher competition than more than 2/3 of his teammates did. He was 13th in offensive zone start % at 43.6, meaning he played in tough situations, His Zone Start Adjusted Corsi was 2nd on the team at 3.062 and his Zone Start Adjusted CorsiRel was 5th on the team at 8.152. League-wide, Shannon's CorsiRel is 114th among forwards. For perspective Steven Stamkos comes in at 107 and Patrick Kane at 111. Names below Shannon on this list include Claude Giroux (115th), Jason Spezza (128th), and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (136th).
And he did it all for $625,000. Sign him.
Clark Brooks - Staff Writer
Four yes, four no, one maybe...Wallace, Hall, Wyman and Gervais: All four of you contributed to last year's team and there's upside in keeping you around as pieces of the puzzle as we go forward.Roloson and Clark: thanks for everything you did for us but I think the sun has set on your time in Tampa Bay.Shannon and Commodore: I would have liked to have seen more from you guys but ultimately it's been a disappointment. Best of luck to you in the future...elsewhere.Caron: Unfortunately you're fighting the rep you brought with you of simply not being very good. What we saw of you wasn't terrible but just not enough to say that that rep is entirely undeserved. However, we're not in a position of being choosy so why don't you work hard this summer, come to camp and we'll see what happens?
Matt Amos - Staff Writer
A year ago, I would've been adamant about resigning Adam Hall. But, that was a year ago.
But he's lost me a bit. For a guy that is 6'3'', 205, he plays about as physical as Marty St. Louis. And on a Lightning team that has a LOT of trouble sticking up for itself, a guy that size - who is around for his defensive prowess - needs to be more physical, in my opinion.
So, who then? I'd have to go with Mike Commodore. Yeah, he's older, but so what? Yzerman's world resolves around one and two-year contracts. He's got at least that much left. And I've seen his ability to be physical in person with all the time he spent in the Central Division.
You might notice a theme: physicality.
If you ask me, aside from the overwhelmingly suspect play in net and from the defense, I attribute a lot of the opposing team's ability to score on the Lightning last season to the simple fact that, ya know, there's no repercussion for going hard to the net against the Lightning.
No one was afraid to pound the Lightning down low, bump the goalies, and take three, four, five extra pokes at a covered puck after the whistle. I realize that Guy Boucher wants to kill with speed and smarts, but eventually, the Bolts need someone to go "alright d**khead, get the hell out of here." I've seen Mike Commodore do that. I'd like to see him do it for the Lightning.