It’s pretty clear that the Lighting are going to have a few deficiencies in a couple of years. Heck, some of those holes are starting to shine through right now. The team needs more depth, better defense and most importantly a strong, young goaltender moving forward.
Dwayne Roloson is not going to be the guy to carry this team through Steven Stamkos’ prime and guide the team to their second Stanley Cup. It’s just not plausible. In fact, it’s becoming incredibly apparent that Roloson should have retired after last season’s nice run. No disrespect to Roloson, he has had a great career, but things are different now. He doesn’t look like the guy that was here last season.
So who do the Lightning turn to? Well, they have Mathieu Garon as a backup (or number one depending on how you look at thing) in the system. Does he make sense going forward? Not really. As a career back-up, Garon, 33, is not the guy to carry this team either. So where does that leave Steve Yzerman? It leaves him on the wide open trade market.
Two young goaltenders spring to mind when you think of the Lightning’s future. You have Cory Schneider from Vancouver and Jonathan Bernier from Los Angeles. Hockeybuzz’s Matt Barry just talked about the Bernier rumors that are out there with an interesting take on things. Who would the Lightning give up for Bernier, or even Schneider?
Both Los Angeles and Vancouver are in win now situations. This whole trade triangle really interests me as these are the three teams I follow closest. So who does Tampa have that would interest either Vancouver or Los Angeles?
Well, you can bet that the price will be high for both tenders. That being said, I believe Schneider would garner more of a return that Bernier. Where Bernier has shown some weakness in consistency, Schneider has stepped up and established himself as a true #1a goalie in Vancouver. Perhaps this is what intrigues Tampa about Bernier; they believe his price will be lower.
We can safely assume that Tampa isn’t trading any one of the three main forwards on the roster. The salary trade off wouldn’t make sense and it would be a bad move for the team. Do draft picks or prospects come into play? Absolutely. Look at what Washington got in exchange for Varlamov from Colorado. Obviously Bernier doesn’t have the same resume that Varlamov had at the time of his trade, but the career potential is exponentially higher. Could a first round draft pick and a second round draft pick get the deal done for Bernier? Tough to say.
In Vancouver’s case, I would speculate that the Canucks would want Brett Connolly. To me, this is a much more interesting trade for the Lightning to consider. The strength of this team is obviously offensive fire power. Moving forward, Martin St. Louis is going to retire and a few other players are going to lose some of that offensive prowess. So maybe Yzerman would want to hold on to Connolly. That being said, if Boucher is content coaching the 1-3-1, does it really matter whether or not this group can score 15 goals per game? Schneider is the kind of young goaltender that doesn’t come around often. It makes sense to jump at the chance to get him.
If you ask me, the biggest concern for this team moving forward is goaltending. You know it, I know it, and even Yzerman knows it. This summer should be very telling about this team’s future. I’d love to see the Lightning grab either Bernier or Cory Schneider. Both are great young guys that this team can build around for many years. If I’m Yzerman, I would push harder for Schneider, but that’s just my personal bias.
What’s your opinion on the future of the Lightning’s goaltending situation? Does either Bernier or Schneider fit into your long term plan for the team?
Thanks for reading.
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