Tag: Matt Taormina

Victor Hedman

Lightning hope that defensive additions will help reverse fortunes


Remember back in November when the Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning entered into a controversy over the Lightning’s 1-3-1 defense? Well, it takes on a different flavor when you take a look at the results.

The Tampa Bay Lightning allowed 3.39 goals per game in 2011-12, which was by far the worst in the league. Part of the issue was their goaltending, which they began the process of rebuilding this summer by adding youngsters Anders Lindback and Riku Helenius. However, their defense also needed some work.

To that end, they signed Matt Carle and Sami Salo over the summer. Both of them are capable of playing big minutes and Carle in particular should do a good job of moving the puck up and making life a little easier for the Lightning’s talented scorers. Carle might also help the Lightning with the man advantage, which is another area they were weak in last season.

They will probably join Victor Hedman and Eric Brewer as the Lightning’s top-four defensemen. As things stand, Tampa Bay now has eight blueliners signed to one-way contracts, and a couple others, like Keith Aulie and Matt Taormina, who have NHL potential.

That should provide them with the extra depth necessary to cope with the injuries that occur during a long season. Given that only two of their defensemen played in more than 61 games last season, it might be their added depth that proves to be the difference in 2012-13.

Offseason Report: Tampa Bay Lightning

Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, Kelly Sutherland

From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.

2011-12 season

38-36-8, 84 points. 10th in Eastern Conference, third in Southeast Division.


Matt Carle, Anders Lindback (trade), Sami Salo, Matt Taormina, Benoit Pouliot, B.J. Crombeen (trade), Kyle Wilson (trade), Dmitry Korobov


Dwayne Roloson, Brett Clark, Bruno Gervais, Tim Wallace, Mike Commodore, Sebastien Caron (trade)

2012 Draft

10th overall – Slater Koekkoek (D – Peterborough – OHL)

19th overall – Andrei Vasilevskiy (G – Ufa 2 – Russia)

Looking back

The 2011-2012 season was an admitted let down for the Lightning after coming within one win of the Stanley Cup finals the year before.  While Steve Stamkos was his usual dominant self scoring 60 goals and finishing with 97 points, the area where Tampa got killed was in goal.

Dwayne Roloson and Mathieu Garon had fits where they couldn’t stop a beach ball and the team finished dead last in goals against (281). Even in a Southeast Division that was rather craptacular, that’s not going to get you anywhere. That made it tough to watch as goaltending is what helped the Lightning get as far as they did the year before.

Looking forward

Things are shaping up to be interesting this season, however. Adding Anders Lindback as their new No. 1 goalie puts the focus on goaltending right away. Lindback played for two seasons in Nashville while not getting much work behind Pekka Rinne. Can he prove to be a legitimate No. 1 guy?

Bringing back Matt Carle to help shore up the defense was a sneaky strike from GM Steve Yzerman as the defensive unit needed help. Sami Salo should help the power play out quite a bit as well.

Taking a flier on Benoit Pouliot to add to their top six will give them more speed and occasional goals while adding B.J. Crombeen to solidify the bottom six forwards will give them a bit more grit. With the improvements Washington and Carolina made this offseason, the Lightning hope to hang in that race for the top.

Have your say

Vote in our poll and let us know what you think of the Lightning’s 2012-13 outlook in the comments section.

Offseason Report: New Jersey Devils

Devils score

From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.

2011-12 season

48-28-6, 102 points, fourth in the Atlantic Division, sixth in the Eastern Conference. Beat Florida in the Conference quarterfinals (4-3), Philadelphia in the semis (4-1), New York Rangers in the finals (4-2).

Lost to Los Angeles in the Stanley Cup finals (4-2).


Krys Barch


Zach Parise, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Matt Taormina, Eric Boulton

2012 Draft

First round, 29th overall — Stefan Matteau (US National Team Development Program)

Looking back

New Jersey’s offseason has been defined by what was lost rather than what was retained. In Parise, the Devils lost their captain and three-time leading scorer — a departure that overshadowed some key re-signings by Lou Lamoriello.

Getting Martin Brodeur back (after his brief flirtation with free agency) was huge. Last year’s playoff run proved the 40-year-old is still an elite netminder, and re-inking backup Johan Hedberg will go a long way in keeping Brodeur fresh throughout the 2012-13 season.

Lamoriello also re-upped with Bryce Salvador, the unlikely postseason scoring hero, on a tidy three-year, $9.5 million deal. Solid value for a veteran presence that’s durable and can play over 20 minutes a night. LouLam then signed RFA defenseman Mark Fayne to a two-year, $2.6 million deal, more good value for a guy that played in all 82 regular season (17 points) and 24 playoff games (three points) for the Devils last year.

Finally, there was the shrewd move of bringing back New Jersey’s dynamic fourth line from the Stanley Cup run — Stephen Gionta, Steve Bernier and Ryan Carter. The line combined for 21 points in 24 playoff games with a plus-11 rating.

Looking forward

The Devils have over $14 million in cap space and are just above the floor, but the team’s uncertain financial future could prevent them from spending. There’s also the issue of a thinned-out free agent market that just saw its last semi-marquee name — Alex Semin — ink with Carolina on a whopping one-year, $7 million deal.

Lamoriello’s on record saying “you don’t replace a Zach Parise,” suggesting he’ll look within the organization to fill the offensive void. Calder nominee Adam Henrique will likely be tagged as one to claim a bigger role and expand on his point production, and the Devils will benefit from a full season of both Travis Zajac (just 15 regular season games last year) and Marek Zidlicky (22) in the lineup.

Have your say

Vote in our poll and let us know what you think of New Jersey’s 2012-13 outlook in the comments section.

Tampa Bay signs Lindback to two-year, $3.6 million deal

Anders Lindback

When Steve Yzerman acquired Anders Lindback to stabilize Tampa’s goaltending, all that remained was getting the Finnish netminder signed.

On Friday, mission accomplished.

The Lightning announced they’ve agreed to terms with the 24-year-old ‘tender on a two-year deal worth $3.6 million. Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times reports the contract pays $1.4 million in 2011-12 and $2.2 million in 2013-14 for an average annual cap hit of $1.8 million.

A restricted free agent, Lindback had received his qualifying offer from Nashville prior to be acquired by the Bolts.

The deal serves as confirmation that Lindback will be Tampa Bay’s No. 1 heading into next season. While his body of work is relatively small — just 38 appearances over two NHL seasons — he’ll head into 2012-13 ahead of Mathieu Garon, Riku Helenius and Dustin Tokarski on the depth chart.

No surprise, then, that Yzerman bolstered his blueline this offseason, in the event Lindback struggles with his first bite at a starting gig.

Tampa’s new-look defense will feature the likes of Matt Carle, Victor Hedman, Eric Brewer, Sami Salo, Brian Lee, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Brendan Mikkelson and Matt Taormina (it’s safe to assume Mattias Ohlund will either retire or end up on long-term injured reserve.)

It’s possible youngsters Keith Aulie and Evan Oberg could be in the defensive mix as well.

Roundup: Stars ink first-round pick Faksa, Bolts get Taormina


Signings continue to trickle in…

Dallas signs 13th overall pick at 2012 Draft

The Dallas Stars have inked their first round pick from the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Radek Faksa, to a three-year entry-level contract.

Faksa is currently participating in the Stars’ annual Summer Development Camp. He has two options for the upcoming season — either make the NHL club, or be sent back to his junior team (OHL Kitchener.)

The 18-year-old center enjoyed a tremendous campaign with the Rangers last season, leading all OHL rookies in goals, assists, points, game-winning goals and plus-minus. At 6-foot-3, 202 pounds, he’s drawn many comparisons to another Kitchener product — the reigning Calder Trophy winner, Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog.

Tampa Bay adds another defenseman

Bolts GM Steve Yzerman continued to stockpile blueliners on Friday, signing former Devils rearguard Matt Taormina to a one-year, two-way contract.

The 25-year-old Michigan native spent the last two years shuttling between the Devils and AHL Albany. He played 30 games for the big club last year, scoring 1G-6A-7PTS while averaging just over 16 minutes of ice time per night.

Taormina is the third free agent defenseman Yzerman’s signed this offseason. He also agreed to terms with former Canuck Sami Salo and ex-Flyer Matt Carle. (Oh yeah, he also re-signed Evan Oberg.)

Jets get Maxwell, Dekanich

The Winnipeg Jets have agreed to terms with forward Ben Maxwell and goaltender Mark Dekanich on new contracts. Terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

Maxwell, 24, appeared in nine games for the Jets last year, spending most of his time with AHL St. John’s. All told, Maxwell has appeared in 47 NHL contests between the Canadiens, Thrashers, Ducks and Jets.

Dekanich, 26, was signed by Columbus last season to back up Steve Mason but ended up missing the entire season after reconstructive ankle surgery. He was once part of the great goalie glut in Nashville — stuck behind Pekka Rinne and Anders Lindback — and has such, only has one NHL appearance on his resume.

That said, Dekanich has posted stellar numbers at the AHL level, including his 2010-11 season in Milwaukee where he posted a 2.02 GAA and .931 save percentage in 43 games.