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.