The No. 25 hasn’t been worn in Tampa Bay since Dave Andreychuk, the captain of the Lightning’s first and only Stanley Cup winner, retired in 2006.
But this year, newly acquired defenseman Matt Carle will sport No. 25 — a decision Andreychuk’s on board with.
“We got Dave’s blessing,” Carle told Damien Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times. “That was a big thing for me.”
It has long been believed Andreychuk, who played four seasons for Tampa Bay and many believe was one of the primary catalysts for its transformation from doormat to 2004 Stanley Cup champion, would have his number retired.
Carle wore No. 25 with the Flyers, though when he was last with the Lightning, during the 2008-09 season, he wore No. 5. That number now belongs to defenseman Mattias Ohlund.
“The organization fully recognizes Dave Andreychuk’s impact as a Lightning player and as captain of the 2004 Stanley Cup champions,” team spokesman Bill Wickett wrote in an email.
“We look forward to properly saluting and celebrating him for his contributions to the franchise.”
Bolts GM Steve Yzerman heaped equal praise on Andreychuk.
“Everyone appreciates what Dave has done and is doing for the organization,” he said. “Those contributions will never be forgotten”
Andreychuk played in Tampa from 2002-06 and, in 2011, was named the Lightning’s Vice President of Fans (the ones that attend games, not the oscillating kind.)
He currently sits sixth all-time in games played with 1639, behind only Chris Chelios, Mark Recchi, Ron Francis, Mark Messier and Gordie Howe.