Many, many, many years ago (four), Raw Charge started a series to help pass the time through the dog days of summer. As training camp grinds on, we figured it would be a good time to bring back the series and walk back down memory lane as we remember some players.
During the original run of this series we highlighted Petr Svoboda, a serviceable enough defenseman on some bad Lightning clubs. It was as good of a choice as any as the rest of the roster is littered with some eminently forgettable names like Mike Hartman, Jamie Heward, Chris Joseph, and brief members of the organization like Michal Sykora and Mike Commodore (noted non-Mike Babcock fan..link is quite NSFW).
More recently the number was worn by JT Brown. A highly sought after college free agent, Brown signed with the Lightning in 2012, leaving the University of Minnesota - Duluth with two years of eligibility remaining. He appeared in 5 games that season with the Lightning.
A point-producing forward in college, Brown evolved into a bottom six forward (by choice or by skill) as he wasn’t able to transition that production into the pro level. He played 286 games with the Lightning over parts of six seasons recording 61 points. He played part of last season with Anaheim after being claimed on waivers and then signed with Minnesota in the off-season.
Former first round pick Jason Wiemer was our first pick to represent the double dozen. It’s a fine choice. After all he netted the Lightning Sandy McCarthy and the pick used to draft Brad Richards, which probably helped the franchise more than his 27 goals.
Dmitry Korobov sported the number for his brief Lightning career in 2014 in which he appeared in just 3 games. He had one assist. And it wasn’t even a good assist. As far as I can tell he chipped the puck to the neutral zone and Teddy Purcell skated onto it:
Nifty deflection by Val Filppula, though.
Currently the number is being worn by Ryan Callahan. Callahan may not be the player he was when the Lightning landed him in the infamous Marty St. Louis trade, but he is still a valued member of the team and the community.
He put up 11 points in the 20 games following the trade and then had an outstanding season in 2014-15, potting 24 goals and adding 30 assists during the regular season and another 8 points as the Lightning marched to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Since then, he just lost the ability to score. In the last three seasons, he’s scored a total of 17 goals in 158 games. The style that endears him to fans, crashing into everything that moves on the ice, has started to catch up to him. He’s missed significant time battling back from a hip injury that required surgery and is out until at least November rehabbing from a shoulder injury.
When he returns, he’ll be welcomed back in the clubhouse where he provides a veteran presence and by the fans who enjoy his demolition derby style of play. Is his contract a little hefty for a bottom six forward? Of course, but he can still play a vital role for this team and his contributions will be remembered long after his contract is bought out next season.
Who else but Hall of Famer Dave Andreychuk could be picked for the number 25? The Captain. The man with statue in front of the building. The one who brought accountability to the locker room and a Stanley Cup to the city. Yeah, that’s a pretty good choice. Since Andreychuk retired in 2006 the only member of the Lightning to wear it was Matt Carle who did put up 31 points in 2013-14.
There haven’t been too many notable players in Lightning history to wear the number. Current Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin was the first to don it as did Michael Nylander, whose Lightning career allowed for this picture to enter the world.
Another player to sport number 25 prior to Andreychuk was Allan Egeland. A third round pick in 1993 (16 picks before Vinny Prospal was drafted), Egeland had a prolific hockey career. Just not in the NHL. He only appeared in 17 NHL games, all of them with the Lightning, spread out over three seasons. His claim to Lightning history? Those 17 games are the most by a forward that never recorded a single point.
His NHL stat line reads 17 Games, 0 Goals, 0 assists, -3, 0 PIM. That’s fairly impressive when you consider that even Shayne Stevenson recorded an assist in his brief (3 games) time with the Lightning.
That’s not to say Egeland wasn’t talented. He had a very productive 628 game career at the AHL, IHL and ECHL levels.He traveled across North America playing for Atlanta, Adirondack, Orlando, St. John, Long Beach, Cleveland, Pensacola, Cincinnati and Charlotte before finally hanging up the skates in 2005. Along the way, he picked up 438 points but made his reputation with his fists racking up an impressive 1,762 penalty minutes during his career.
Marty St. Louis. That is all.
Another Stanley Cup winner was highlighted in the original run of the series as Tim Taylor was the designated representative of the number 27. A solid pick from a less than exciting pool of players.
Since Taylor left, the number has been worn by two other players. The first, enigmatic forward Jonathan Drouin who wore it for all 164 games of his tumultuous tenure with the Lightning. Blessed with tremendous offensive ability, Drouin never clicked with the coaching staff and was traded at a relatively young age (21) for a top three draft pick. Not that Lightning fans are disappointed with the return in the trade - Mikhail Sergachev.
The number went unused until late in the season when General Manager Steve Yzerman pulled off a huge trade that resulted in Ryan McDonagh joining the Lighting and putting the number on his back. While his acquisition did not prove to be the final piece of the Stanley Cup puzzle, the Lightning liked him enough to extend his contract for seven years at a hefty $6.75 million per year.
He has the opportunity to make the number 27 synonymous with his name. At 29 years old, the Lightning should get the remainder of his prime years as well as a few of his slowly declining veteran seasons. For now, he’s a solid top four defender that will give Jon Cooper a solid 20+ minutes a game.
This wraps up the refresh of the numbers that we’ve already gone through. Moving forward, we’ll tackle one number at a time, ranking the players who have worn it and perhaps adding a little bit of historical information on some of the players you might not remember so well.