There was plenty of furor following Tampa Bay’s 7-1 loss to Toronto on Tuesday. It was the Bolts’ fourth loss in their last five games, pushing their record to 9-9-2 — not exactly where they wanted to be at the season’s quarter-pole.
Lightning GM Steve Yzerman spoke with the Tampa Tribune about the slow start. While he mentioned that trades and recalls are potential options, he also stated there would be no panic moves.
“I never believe you do something just to do something,” Yzerman said. “You just try to make the team better, whether that’s through recalling somebody or a trade. I’m not going to react. You just have to assess your team.”
Not a huge revelation, though it was interesting to hear Yzerman address his team’s lack of depth compared with last season.
“We have higher expectations and some of our players are not playing at the level they were at last year,” he said. “We are not as deep as we were last year, and we are hoping that within, our players will elevate their play.”
Not as deep, hey? Hmm. I tagged three key losses from last year’s team:
— Simon Gagne (now with LA): Fifth on the team in scoring, fourth in PP goals.
— Sean Bergenheim (now with FLA): Scored 14 goals, third in takeaways, huge playoffs.
— Mattias Ohlund (still with TB): Top-four defenseman. Hasn’t played this year (knees).
Those losses are concerning, but so too is the dropoff in production. Dominic Moore scored a career-high 18 goals last year but has just one so far. Brett Clark led all defensemen in goals (nine) and points (31), but has just 2G-2A-4PTS through 20 games. Steve Downie’s numbers are way down across the board.
Last year, the Lightning surprised on several fronts — rookie head coach Guy Boucher exceeded expectations, the team stayed quite healthy, several guys had career years and almost every Yzerman transaction worked out beautifully.
Makes you wonder if his “we’re not as deep as we were last year” comment should’ve been “we’re not overachieving like we did last year.”