Sometimes, in the middle of the night, an idea comes to you. There are times where you see or do something, and without knowing it, it’s the last time it will happen. Specifically in the realm of hockey, there are times where we have seen a Lightning player score a goal, and without knowing it, it was the last goal that they ever scored for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Now, there’s a lot of players that this is going to be true for. During their existence 290 different players in the regular season and 74 different players in the playoffs have scored a goal for the Lightning. Obviously there’s a lot of overlap in there, but you’re still talking about around 300 different players and there’s not enough room here to try and cover every single one of those players.
Instead, I’m going to cut the list down to just 20 players. Those 20 players are all of the skaters that appeared for the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2004 Stanley Cup Final. There’s many other players that I could include in here from the rest of the franchise that were very popular and have left the franchise. Players like Roman Hamrlik, Vinny Prospal, Brian Bradley, Brian Boyle, Tyler Johnson, Yanni Gourde, Blake Coleman, and Barclay Goodrow. But this is already going to be long enough. If you want to see this for other players from franchise history, then please, leave a comment with other players and if there’s enough interest, I’ll do a Part 2.
Last Goal: 2/20/2008 @ BUF, even strength goal assisted by Jan Hlavac, scored against Ryan Miller
Little did we know that this game in Buffalo would be Richards’ last with the Lightning. Less than a week later on February 26th, Richards was traded to the Dallas Stars along with Johan Holmqvist for Mike Smith, Jussi Jokinen, Jeff Halpern, and a 2009 4th round pick.
Martin St. Louis
Last Goal: 3/1/2014 @ DAL, even strength goal assisted by Ondrej Palat, scored against Kari Lehtonen
Martin St. Louis actually scored two goals in this game, with the other being assisted by Eric Brewer and Ondrej Palat. By this time, there had already been rumblings and rumors about St. Louis and his future in Tampa. The Lightning were finally well along the path of their rebuild with Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, and Alex Killorn all emerging as capable top six forwards, along with Victor Hedman taking the next step forward in his development into a formidable defender that produced a lot of offense. The Lightning were without the services of Steven Stamkos for much of the season due to a broken leg.
St. Louis didn’t wait around for Stamkos to return, or for this team to flourish, instead getting knocked out of the playoffs the following year in the Eastern Conference Finals by the Lightning on their way to the Stanley Cup Final. It’s not hard to imagine the what-ifs of MSL remaining with the team through the end of his contract. How much of a difference maker would he have been and would he have had a second Cup on his resume?
Last Goal: 3/1/2007 @ WSH, even strength goal assisted by Nick Tarnasky and Cory Sarich, scored against Brent Johnson
Fedotenko was on a month long goal drought before getting one last goal for the Lightning. He didn’t score for the rest of the season or in the four playoff games. He left the Lightning for the New York Islanders as an unrestricted free agent in the summer.
Last Goal: 12/26/2005 vs CAR, power play goal assisted by Dan Boyle and Martin St. Louis, scored against Martin Gerber
Like MSL, Andreychuk scored two goals in this game. His first goal was a short handed one in the first period and he followed it with a power play goal in the second period. While I think there was a lot of expectation that this would be Andreychuk’s last season in the NHL at 42 years old and in his 23rd season. But I doubt anyone thought this would be his last goal for the Lightning or in the NHL coming a day after Christmas. He played in six more games and was waived by the team after a January 7th game in Boston.
It was fitting though that he finished it off with a power play goal. He retired with the league’s record for power play goals in a career at 274, a mark that Alex Ovechkin only just recently tied and will break in the very near future.
Last Goal: 4/15/2006 vs CAR, even strength goal assisted by Martin St. Louis, scored against Martin Gerber
It was only happenstance that Modin and Andreychuk ended up back to back in this list, but both scored their last goal at home, against Carolina, and against Martin Gerber. Modin failed to score in five playoff games at the end of the season. Modin was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the summer along with Fredrik Norrena for Marc Denis.
Last Goal: 2/29/2008 vs TOR, overtime power play goal assisted by Vincent Lecavalier and Jussi Jokinen, scored against Vesa Toskala
An overtime power play goal at home. This came just four days after Boyle signed a 6-year contract extension with the team. He played 18 more games to finish out the season without scoring a goal. There is no way that anyone watching this goal had any inkling that it would be his last in a Lightning uniform. Unfortunately, it was. The Lightning were dreadful, missed the playoffs, and selected Steven Stamkos with the first overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft. Almost two weeks later though... Boyle was traded to the San Jose Sharks.
I know some fans are still bitter about that trade. Imagine Boyle, a right handed defenseman, feeding Stamkos one-timers with ease on the power play. We never got to see it.
The trade wasn’t all bad though. His trade tree eventually landed the Lightning the first round pick used to select... Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Last Goal: 4/18/2013 @ MTL, even strength goal assisted by Benoit Pouliot and Victor Hedman, scored against Carey Price
The departure of Lecavalier from the Lightning franchise was at the same time surprising, but also not a shock. Coming out of the 2012 NHL Lockout, teams were allowed two compliance buy-outs that would allow the team to buy-out a contract and it not count against the salary cap.
Lecavalier was a player that got some speculation about that as the year went on. Would Jeff Vinik sign off on buying out the contract? The buy-out cost the Lightning just over $32 million after having already paid Lecavalier around $35 million over the first four years of the contract. Vinik signed off on it, and General Manager Steve Yzerman made it official. The Lightning paid Lecavalier $4.761 million in 2013-14 and 2014-15, $3.761 million in 2015-16, and then $1.761 million per year since 2016-17. He’ll continue to be on the payroll through the end of the 2026-27 season.
It was an unfortunate way for Lecavalier’s time to end in Tampa, but it was a necessary decision for the team’s future. Lecavalier had started to show signs of slowing down and of being more injury prone. He only lasted in the NHL for three more seasons before retiring and if he had still been on his original contract with the Lightning, would have still been under contract for another four seasons after he retired.
Lecavalier played four more games for the Lightning after scoring his last goal and picked up his final point in a Lightning uniform in his final game of the season against the Florida Panthers. Lecavalier was also involved in a fight with just over four minutes left to go in the third period, so he finished his last game with the Lightning in the penalty box. Imagine if that last goal had been with a Gordie Howe Hat Trick in his last game with the Lightning.
Last Goal: 11/2/2006 @ PHI, even strength goal assisted by Brad Richards and Ruslan Fedotenko, scored against Antero Nittymaki
Taylor finished out his career with the Lightning, and in the NHL, wearing the Captain’s C in 2006-07. He played in 71 games, plus six more in the playoffs, but only scored this one goal, the 73rd of his 746 game career. Taylor was ruled out for the 2007-08 season with a hip injury and retired.
Last Goal: 1/11/2004 @ NYR, overtime even strength goal, assisted by Cory Stillman and Cory Sarich, scored against Mike Dunham.
Cullimore is our first player on this list to get his last goal before winning the Stanley Cup in 2004. He recorded two goals in the 2003-04 season and none in 11 playoff games. He left the Lightning as a free agent after the 2004 NHL Lockout.
Last Goal: 5/13/2004 @ PHI, even strength goal assisted by Brad Richards and Fredrik Modin, scored against Robert Esche.
Like Cullimore, Stillman’s last goal came before winning the Cup as he would also leave the team after the lockout and win another Stanley Cup in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes. Stillman only played one season for the Lightning, but was a big contributor during that season recording 25 goals and 80 points in 81 games. His production let up in the playoffs with just two goals and seven points in 21 games.
Last Goal: 5/8/2004 vs PHI, even strength goal assisted by Andre Roy and Eric Perrior, scored against Robert Esche.
Unlike the previous two players on this list that got their last goal before winning the Cup with the Lightning, Dingman actually was back with the team in 2005-06. Known much more for his ability to drop the gloves than to score, Dingman actually recorded two goals during the Cup run. He played 34 games plus three more in the playoffs for the Lightning in 2005-06 without recording a goal.
Last Goal: 11/22/2005 @ PHI, even strength goal assisted by Tim Taylor and Rob DiMalo, scored against Robert Esche
Cibak only scored five goals in his 149 game career, all with the Lightning spanning three different seasons. This last goal came during the 2005-06 season, after which he returned to Europe where he played another 11 professional seasons. Fun fact, the Lightning were undefeated when Cibak scored a goal. The only Not-Win came in a Tie with the Atlanta Thrashers for his first goal in the 2001-02 season. He also only scored once in a home game, which was just over a week before his last goal also against Robert Esche and the Philadelphia Flyers.
Last Goal: 4/1/2006 @ FLA, power play goal assisted by Vincent Lecavalier and Brad Richards, scored against Roberto Luongo
Sydor joined the Lightning mid-season from the Dallas Stars in 2003-04. He spent the 2005-06 season with the Lightning before leaving the team. He played in 28 playoff games for the Lightning without scoring a goal and only scored five goals during the regular season for the Lightning.
Last Goal: 3/3/2007 @ FLA, even strength goal assisted by Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier, scored against Ed Belfour.
Pratt is an interesting player. He’s a defenseman, so that explains the many single digit point seasons he had in the NHL, but also single goal seasons too, as he had three of them for the Lightning and three other one-goal seasons, one each with the Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, and Buffalo Sabres. Oh, and you can add in a one goal season with Amur Khabarovsk in the KHL and another with Lukko in Liiga.
In fact, seeing that, it made me go check StatHead.com to see who has the record for most seasons in an NHL career scoring only one goal. Pratt’s six seasons is tied for 6th with 11 other players. The record holder? Well, we already passed him... Jassen Cullimore with eight. Former Lightning player and form Canadiens General Manager Marc Bergevin is also on that list with 7 one goal seasons in his career.
Last Goal: 11/5/2007 @ FLA, even strength goal assisted by Jason Ward, scored against Tomas Vokoun
Lukowich was apart of the Lightning for their run to the Stanley Cup and the previous season. He then spent two years after the 2004 Lokcout with the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils before returning to the Lightning for the 2007-08 season where he recorded only one goal before departing the organization for the last time.
Last Goal: 1/18/2008 @ PIT, even strength goal assisted by Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis, scored against Ty Conklin
Roy recorded one goal during the 2004 playoffs with the Lightning and left the organization for the Pittsburgh Penguins after the 2004 lockout. He spent the 2005-06 season with the Penguins and then was waived in 2006-07 after playing five games. The Lightning picked him up off waivers and he played the rest of the 2006-07 and 2007-08 season with the Lightning. Like Dingman, Roy was much better known for his ability to drop the gloves racking up 1,169 PIMs in a 515 game NHL career. So it’s really funny that his last goal with the Lightning was assisted by two high octane forwards. By the way, it wasn’t the only Roy goal assisted by them either, with Richards and St. Louis combining to assist a Roy goal in 2002-03, his second with the Lightning.
Last Goal: 3/25/2006 vs NYR, even strength goal assisted by Ruslan Fedotenko and Ryan Craig, scored against Henrik Lundqvist.
Sarich played parts of seven seasons with the Lightning, his last coming in 2006-07. Over 88 total games (regular season and playoffs), he did not score a goal for the Lightning. His last goal for the Lightning came in the previous season.
Last Goal: 1/3/2012 @ TOR, even strength goal assisted by Eric Brewer, scored against Jonas Gustavsson.
Kubina had two different stints with the Lightning after being drafted by the team in the 7th round of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft. One of the best late round draft picks the Lightning have had (along with fellow Czech Republic native Ondrej Palat), Kubina was a solid defenseman for the Lightning for many years. His Last goal with the Lightning game a month a half before he was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers and it also turned out to be the last goal of his NHL and profession career as he did not score a goal with the Flyers and did not score in four games the next season playing with Geneve-Servette in the Swiss League before retiring.
Last Goal: 2/5/2004 @ NSH, even strength goal assisted by Cory Stillman and Tim Taylor, scored against Tomas Vokoun.
Original a Bruins draft pick, Clymer debuted in the NHL with the Lightning in 1999-00 as a 21 year old. He only played in five playoff games for the Lightning during the 2004 playoffs and scored two goals during the season. Clymer had an interesting career as he scored 14 goals and 34 points in 2001-02 for the Lightning, but only managed eight goals and 28 points over the next two seasons. He went to the Washington Capitals after the 2004 Lockout and recorded 16 goals in 2005-06. He recorded another seven goals and 20 points in 2006-07 for the Capitals and then was in the AHL the following year and never made it back to the NHL.
Last Goal: 11/8/2006 @ PIT, even strength goal assisted by Nikita Alexeev, scored against Marc-Andre Fluery
Afanasenkov spent most of his career with the Lightning after being a third round pick in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. He played all 23 games of the 2004 playoffs for the Lightning recording a goal and three assists. That goal was his only career NHL playoff goal. He played 33 games in 2006-07 and was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers mid-season. After the season, he returned to Europe and finished out his career overseas.