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Tampa Bay Lightning Sweater Series: Number 32

A couple of back up goaltenders thrust into starting roles highlight this slightly less than popular number.

Schwab chest save Photo by Jim Leary/Getty Images

The number 32 hasn’t had the most illustrious history with the Tampa Bay Lightning as it has been worn mainly by back-up goaltenders and journeymen. It’s also been dormant since 2013. No one on the Crunch wears the number either so it’s unlikely to see any action this season.

Craig Millar 2001: 16 Games Played, 1 goal, 1 assist

Craig Millar was a ninth round draft pick who made it to the NHL and played over 100 games in the best hockey league in the world. That’s an accomplishment in and of itself. By the way, the ninth round of the 1994 draft was wildly successful. Some of the players that lasted to that round: Tim Thomas, Johan Hedberg, Evgeni Nabokov, Tomas Vokoun, John Grahame, and Steve Sullivan. Heck, the last player in the entire draft (Kim Johnsson pick #286) played in 739 NHL games. That is one deep draft.

Back to Millar. His claim to fame may be that he was involved in one of the more lopsided trades in deadline history as he was sent from Buffalo to Edmonton with Barrie Moore in exchange for Miroslav Satan. The Lightning did not have to part with anywhere near as dear of an asset as they claimed him off of waivers from Nashville in October of 2000.

He became one of seventeen different players to suit up on the blue line for Tampa Bay that season (no they weren’t good). He did make his one goal as a member of the Lightning count. On November 3rd (his third game with his new team) he scored in overtime to give the Lightning a 4-3 win over the Islanders.

At the trade deadline in 2001, the Lightning were able to move him to Ottawa as the Senators were gearing up for a playoff run. In exchange Tampa Bay received John Emmons, who also had one career goal for the Lightning.

Peter Taglianetti 1993: 61 Games, 1 Goal, 8 Assists, 150 Penalty Minutes

An original Bolt! Also a cup winner with the 1991 Penguins. A former third round pick and eight year veteran at the time of the expansion draft, Taglianetti was plucked from the Pittsburgh Penguins. It took him five games with the Lightning to pick up his first and only career goal with Tampa Bay.

The Lightning sent him back to Pittsburgh at the 1993 deadline in exchange for a third round pick.

Mathieu Garon 2012-2013: 66 Games Played, 28 Wins, .900 Sv%, 2.68 GAA

In the summer of 2011, Garon, a 2009 Cup winner with Pittsburgh, signed a two-year deal to be the Lightning’s backup. But due to Dwayne Roloson’s struggles, he assumed the number one role in net. Garon was doing alright and had the Lightning in the playoff hunt until a torn groin muscle ended his season in March. The Lightning went 6-8 down the stretch with a rotation of Roloson, Dustin Tokarski, and Sebastein Caron in net and missed the playoffs.

In the offseason, General Manager Steve Yzerman made a big trade for a big goaltender, Anders Lindback. Once the lockout ended, the two netminders played a 1a and 1b role for most of the shortened season. Unfortunately, that plan didn’t quite work out as both goalies were decidedly average. So, Mr. Yzerman made another trade for a goaltender, Ben Bishop. With a stable of young goalies in the fold (Bishop 26, Lindback 24, Riku Helenius 25), there wasn’t room for Garon in net and the Lightning did not re-sign him after the season.

Matt Smaby 2008-2011: 122 Games Played, 0 goals, 6 assists, 106 penalty minutes

Matt Smaby has the distinction of being the first U.S. high school player ever drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2003 with the 41st overall pick. That’s pretty high for a kid from Minnesota who didn’t exactly wow anyone with his numbers. So why did they pick him instead of say...Patrice Bergeron (drafted four picks later) or Shea Weber (drafted eight picks later) or Corey Crawford (three picks after Weber)? Potential.

Smaby was a big kid who could skate pretty well. By the time he joined the Lightning after three seasons at the University of North Dakota, he tipped the scales at 6’5”, 222 lbs with a bit of a mean streak. With little offensive game outside of a big slap shot, he projected to be a decent bottom pair defender who could grind out minutes and punish opponents in the defensive zone. This was pre-lockout hockey when teams wanted big guys who could hook, obstruct, and interfere with a nasty edge. Smaby filled that role admirably.

Finding playing time with the Lightning across four seasons, Smaby pretty much lived up to his billing. He never scored a goal but assisted on six goals during his 100+ games with the Lightning.

Corey Schwab 1997-1999: 87 Games Played, 21 Wins, .893 SV%, 3.25 GAA

Yet another Stanley Cup winner (2003 with the Devils), Corey Schwab came to the Lightning from New Jersey in the summer of 1996 in exchange for Jeff Reese, a second round pick, and an eighth round pick. He was brought in to play 25-30 games a year as backup to Daren Puppa.

The trade produced a great quote from Phil Esposito about the goaltender that went the other way, “He [Jeff Reese] can’t do it in Florida, you know, with the dehydration and everything” Reese had what the paper cited as “chronic dehydration” and Espo needed a goaltender who he knew could relieve Puppa on a consistent basis.

Espo and the Lightning got more than they anticipated from Schwab. Instead of being the back-up, Schwab ended up appearing in more games than any other goalie during his three seasons with the Bolts. Puppa’s back issues became more severe and none of the other goalies in the system were able to step up and assume the starters role.

Each season, it seemed the team would bring in another veteran (Rick Tabaracci, Mark Fitzpatrick, Bill Ranford, etc) and Schwab would end up getting the bulk of the play. His stats weren’t great (nor was the team in front of him), but when it came time for the Atlanta Thrashers to pick a goalie in the 1999 expansion draft, they took Schwab over Puppa and Fitzpatrick.

He never suited up for Atlanta as they dealt him to Vancouver for a second round pick. He ended up back in New Jersey in time to back up Martin Brodeur as the Devils won the Stanley Cup. Not that Schwab had much work in the season as Brodeur played in 73 games, but he did alright winning five games and posting a 1.47 GAA.

So who is the player you most associate with the number 32?


Who is your favorite 32?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Peter Taglianetti
    (3 votes)
  • 46%
    Corey Schwab
    (15 votes)
  • 0%
    Craig Millar
    (0 votes)
  • 15%
    Matt Smaby
    (5 votes)
  • 28%
    Mathieu Garon
    (9 votes)
32 votes total Vote Now

^Buckley, T. (1996, Jun 23). Lightning, devils swap backup goalies in draft: [0 SOUTH PINELLAS edition]. St.Petersburg Times Retrieved from Proquest 1/23/20