The Raw Charge "Question of the Week" is a weekly feature that poses a question to Raw Charge writers and other writers within the Boltosphere, discussing the ins and outs of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Over the past two weeks on the site, we've put the bullseye on the Tampa Bay Lightning front office -- asking if the team would be more active at the deadline, and just how GM Steve Yzerman did with his first NHL trade deadline as a general manager.
Of course, long before the 2011 NHL trade deadline, and before the 2010-11 season even began, this team was fleshed out through signings and trades during the summer of 2010. With the majority of the season now in the books, I asked the staff here at Raw Charge, as well as members of the Boltosphere, to answer this question:
Which Tampa Bay Lightning player, in your mind, has proven to be the best acquisition from the 2010 off-season, and why?
The timing may seem odd, as most gauge the best acquisition a few weeks after the season starts (if not sooner) but the truth is that the most accurate gauge is now, after a season of play. Of course, you may not recall all the comings and goings from the 2010 off-season, in which case you may want to review the 2010 Lined-Up Update to see just who was brought in over the summer.
The answers from our contributors are below the jump. We've also included a poll and would like to hear your thoughts in comments.
Nolan Whyte - Staff / Frozen Sheets Hockey
If I was purely cynical (something of which I have been occasionally accused) I would say Dan Ellis was the most important addition from the offseason, for no other reason than that he and Mike Smith have provided us with the all-time best nickname for a goalie tandem. Dan may be a Duck, but the legend of "Smellis" will never die.
However, I'm not only here for the schadenfreude. The glitziest acquisition may have been Simon Gagne, but there have been two that I like more: the return of Pavel Kubina, and the addition of Sean Bergenheim.
I'm kind of a nostalgia freak, so I was stoked that Kubina returned. It's a welcome blast from the team's winning past to see him back with his Cup winning cohorts, Vinny and Marty. And obviously the team needed some depth and experience on the blueline, so it was wins all around. And he's played well, too.
As for Bergenheim, when he was added in the summer I had two comments: "Who?" and "Who cares?" After seeing him play though, I've become a Bergie booster. He's a fanatical puck-chaser, and seems to get more breakaways than anyone I've ever seen. He's not a huge points guy, but I love his tenacity and I love watching him play. It's terrific when there are guys on the bottom two lines that you want to see on the ice. I'm even considering registering the domain name "Don't Trade Bergie." Maybe not, but I'm thinking about it.
Pete Choquette - Bolt Prospects
It's close to me between Bergenheim and Clark, but I'll go with Bergenheim because the Lightning have never had the kind of secondary scoring they've had this season and Sean has helped change the culture of the team rapidly. He plays fast, and he plays hard. He finishes his checks. He's responsible defensively. He's got a sneaky good shot. There's a lot of ink that's been given to the DNA line, and rightfully so, but Bergenheim is even more important in setting the tone and pace for the club, in my opinion.
Dani Toth - Staff / Lightning Hockey Blog
For me the answer is easily Brett Clark. I didn't expect that much out of his signing from what I saw in Colorado the year before, but what the Lightning desperately needed was help on the defence. Not only has Clark provided puck movement for the team and is able to play on the powerplay, he's also currently tied with Hedman in points production on the blue line. I've also really liked when he's paired up to skate with Hedman as I found he was good with covering for Hedman if his play didn't work out or just seemed to provide a calming influence on him. He also ranks amongst the defence with the highest shooting accuracy and in the most sexy stat: leads the team in the most shots blocked.
In my opinion the Lightning’s best acquisition from the 2010 off-season is Sean Bergenheim. In 64 games he has 13 goals and 13 assists, is a +2 while getting an average of 14:11 of ice time per game. His Lightning ranks are seventh in points and fifth in goals. He is fourth in even strength goals and points, an area where the Bolts have struggled at times. Bergenheim’s numbers make him a solid investment at a salary of $700,000. Sean can play in all situations and is a great energy player.
Cassie McClellan - Staff
Sean Bergenheim. I know that Dominic Moore will likely be the most popular choice, but I can't quite get over that -13 that he has. Bergenheim has been a clutch player when necessary. But more than that, he's not just scoring goals but making plays. He's been willing to play a little dirty plus give and take some hits to get the job done, too. He's got that combination of skill and toughness that most coaches would love to see in their players. Which is why he's been on the top two lines for most of the season - he gets the job done when he has to, and in a quiet but efficient manner.
Clark Brooks - Staff
This is liable to be the least Xs and Os answer you get (it's highly likely that I'm the least Xs and Os guy on the Raw Charge staff, so that's okay) but I'm going to say Sean Bergenheim. He's a player that I knew nothing about before the Lightning got him and I love his style of play, especially his propensity for breakaways. When he's on the ice, I get a litle more excited about something dramatic happening offensively. For someone like me, who's drawn to the game for it's entertainment value, I've really enjoyed having him on the Lightning.
Previous Question of the Week: Rate Steve Yzerman's first NHL trade deadline.