This is just the beginning of Steve Yzerman’s time as the general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning, but so far, it seems like he’s introducing all kinds of new things to the franchise (like, say, “competence”). There are certainly some winds of change blowing through Tampa, but if Bolts fans were hoping for a little bit of familiarity, look no further than the team’s reported signing of Pavel Kubina.
Dave Pagnotta reports that the team handed the big defenseman a two-year deal, although financial terms have not yet been disclosed. (Update: Pierre LeBrun reports that the deal is for $7.7 million over two years. That’s a bit of a bargain, I’d say.)
Kubina spent the first eight years of his career with the Lightning (ranging from 1997-98 to 2005-06). He was a big part – literally and figuratively, since he’s listed at 6-4, 250 lbs. – of the team’s Stanley Cup run during the 03-04 season. After 05-06, the Toronto Maple Leafs snatched him with an offer he couldn’t refuse. Kubina spent last season with the Atlanta Thrashers.
Aside from an injury-shortened 06-07 season, Kubina steadily produced between 35 and 40 points since that Cup-winning season in 03-04. Overall, he hit the 40-point mark twice and the 30-point mark five times in his solid 12-year career.
The Lightning now have Kubina, Mattias Ohlund and sophomore Victor Hedman as their top three defensemen to go along with the three Matts (Walker, Lashoff and Smaby). CapGeek’s breakdown of the roster is almost mind blowing, as the team seemingly only has four big ticket forwards under contract (Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone). Naturally, there are always minor league players, but that’s still a surprising vision.
So, obviously, Yzerman has plenty of work to do in re-making the Lightning roster. That being said, he’s looking like a Doogie Howser-lever fast learner so far.