No matter how relevant a player is with a team, there will always be someone out in the stands that loves that player. For whatever reason, fans become attached to certain players. While those fans may try to follow the guys after they leave, time and ability to follow those players can be difficult particularly with players that move to European leagues. Many of those Euro league teams do not have English language coverage and finding streaming games at a convenient time is also difficult. So with that, I asked on Twitter for some players that had moved on and to take a look at where they are now.
Perhaps one of the more popular Lightning players (and Tampacuse alumni) that moved on rather quickly after having a flashy debut. After a good college career Conacher had a fantastic 2011-12 with the Bolts AHL affiliate of the time, the Norfolk Admirals, scoring 39 goals and 41 assists in 75 regular-season games along with 2 goals and 13 assists in the AHL playoffs as the Admirals went on to win the Calder Cup. Conacher made his NHL debut with the Lightning in the abbreviated 2013 season and blew up for 24 points (9 goals, 15 assists) in 35 games with Tampa Bay. Perhaps recognizing that with his size he may not last long in the NHL and with a plethora of young talented forward depth making their own NHL debuts and the team still a couple years from contending, Steve Yzerman struck while the iron was hot trading Conacher and a 4th round pick to Ottawa for Ben Bishop.
After leaving Tampa, Conacher struggled to find the net consistently with the Senators (6 goals, 19 assists in 72 games played over two trade-shortened seasons), then Buffalo Sabres (3 goals, 3 assists in 19 games), then the New York Islanders (1 goal, 2 assists in 15 games). He spent most of that last season (2014-15) in the AHL where he was having success, being traded from the Isles to the Vancouver Canucks franchise to play for the Utica Comets . This past offseason as a free agent however, he chose to sign in Switzerland with SC Bern where he has been a point per game player and has been around the top of the league scoring lead for much of the season. As of this writing he has 13 goals and 18 assists in 27 games.
Tyrell was plagued by knee injuries that cost him a step or two. He was never able to turn it on when he got his opportunities in the NHL only playing with the Lightning for 139 games over four seasons (2010-11 through 2013-14). He was traded to Columbus at the 2013-14 trade deadline and remained there for the 2014-15 season mostly playing for their AHL affiliate. He is currently a free agent and you have to wonder if and when he'll land somewhere. A few idle thoughts have been bumped around with the Raw Charge staff that he would be a good fit with the Crunch even if it's just a professional tryout. It's also possible he's dealing with an injury that has kept him from signing a contract.
Adam Hall was known as a faceoff specialist and fourth line center for the Lightning, but throughout his career had been a fairly productive bottom six forward 152 points in 662 regular season games over 11 seasons with 7 NHL teams with 213 of those games coming with the Lightning over five seasons with the organization (a full season was spent in the AHL). He was popular, but ultimately became expendable after the 2011-12 season with Nate Thompson mostly taking over his role. When the NHL returned from the lockout in the 2012-13 season Hall was involved in some odd transactions. The team put Hall on waivers and he was claimed by the Carolina Hurricanes. Less than two weeks later, the Lightning traded defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron for Hall and a seventh round pick. The next day, the Lightning put Hall on waivers again and he was claimed by the Philadelphia Flyers. Oh, by the way, that seventh round pick was used to draft Swiss winger Joel Vermin. Hall is currently playing in the Swiss league's HC Ambri-Piotta and is in his second year there (69 games played in that span with 18 goals and 21 assists as of this writing).
Often referred to as Nacho Labrie, he was a pretty quick crowd favorite for his feisty energy and his willingness to drop the gloves for the Lightning. Labrie has consistently topped the 100 PIMs mark since making his professional debut in 2007-08 with the Manitoba Moose of the AHL, only failing to hit that plateau in his second (2008-09 - 79 PIM) and third (2009-10 - 69 PIM) seasons. He played 46 games in the NHL for the Lightning over four seasons in the organization but never stuck as a defensively responsible fourth liner. The Lightning did not re-sign him after the 2013-14 season and he signed with the Chicago Blackhawks and has been playing with their AHL affiliate the Rockford Icehogs the past two seasons.
Artyukhin is a big forward that has bounced around a lot in his career. To call him a journeyman hockey player is a bit of an understatement. The Lightning drafted him in the third round of the 2001 NHL draft while he was playing in the Russian Superleague. The next year, he split time between the second and third tier Russian leagues. In 2002-03, he played for the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL. Then he played for the Hershey Bears of the AHL and Pensacola Ice Pilots of the ECHL. Then the Springfield Falcons of the AHL. He finally made his NHL debut with the Lightning in the 2005-06 season after the 2004 lockout. He then returned to Russia for two years playing with three different teams before returning to the NHL with the Lightning for the 2008-09 season. The Bolts did not retain him past that loen season, moving him in an August 2009 to the Anaheim Ducks, splitting the 2009-10 season with the Ducks and the Atlanta Thrashers.He found some stability playing for SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL from 2010-11 to 2012-13 before moving on to Atlant Mystichi and CSKA Moscow over the next two seasons. For this year, he has returned to SKA St. Petersburg.
That really has been an adventure wasn't it? Over 17 professional seasons, he has played for 17 different teams in 8 different leagues. On top of that, he has played internationally for Russia in 8 different seasons. He may not have been the best player to even put on a Lightning uniform, but you have to give him props for his longevity playing hockey. Oh, and he was also a player that was pretty consistently around or over 100 PIMs per year for his physical game. He was lovingly nicknamed "Artoo" by fans in the stands and on the Internet during his tenure with the Lightning organization.
A bit of a cult figure in Tampa Bay Lightning history, Fedotenko was a member of the 2004 Stanley Cup Championship team. Fedotenko was acquired with two second round picks for the 4th overall pick in the 2002 draft from the Flyers prior to the 2002 NHL draft. He played in Tampa Bay for four seasons sandwiched around the 2004 NHL Lockout. During his time here, he was a pretty consistent half-point-per-game player (313 regular season games played, 74 goals, 74 assists for 144 points) and mostly kept up that pace over 971 regular season and playoff NHL games. The Lightning ultimately let Fedotenko go after the 2006-07 season. He continued on in the NHL playing for the Islanders, Penguins, and Rangers before returning to the Flyers whom he started his career with. During the 2012-13 lockout, he played for Donbass Donetsk of the KHL and returned there for the 2013-14 season. The past two years, he's been attempting an NHL comeback with the Minnesota Wild but has failed to earn a recall. He's currently playing in the AHL with the Iowa Wild with limited ice time during his tenure there (29 games played total with 3 goals and 4 assists -- all goals coming in his first season with Iowa and all assists this season).