The 2012-13 season will not be just another season for the Tampa Bay Lightning. It will be the twentieth anniversary of the team’s participation in the National Hockey League and they have had much to be proud of.
The Eastern Conference team the Tampa Bay Lightning was founded in 1992 after a battle to gain the new expansion team spot over St. Petersburg, Florida. The group backing the new Tampa team was being pushed and backed by the Esposito brothers Phil and Tony.
In 1,528 career games the Lightning have 588 wins, 732 losses, 112 ties and 96 overtime losses, which shows some times of struggle in the team’s history. However in 19 seasons played the Lightning made the post-season six times and winning two division championships, one conference championship and most important of all they won the Stanley Cup in 2003-04 only 11 years after being founded.
But there have also been many players in this team’s history that have helped make this team legendary or were recognized as legends here.
The franchise’s leading scorer is Vincent Lecavalier who posted 842 points in 998 career games. He is also the franchise-leading scorer with 373 goals. Lecavalier’s 108 points in the 2006-07 season was also the highest scored in one season by any player in the team’s 19 year franchise history.
Then there is young star Steven Stamkos who has already brought so much to the team and yet has barely started his full career yet. The 22-year old has 329 points in 325 games including 179 goals.
Stamkos also leads the franchise averaging 1.01 points per game and holds the record for most goals in a season. He scored 60 goals last season.
A situation the Lightning’s team that is currently holding them back from even competing in the post-season is goaltending. Nikolai Khabibulin was the best player between the pipes in the Lightning franchise history. He helped lead the 2003-04 team to the Stanley Cup and holds two franchise seasons records for most wins (30) and most shutouts (7.)
Players such as Denis Savard, Dino Ciccarelli, Brad Richards, Nikolai Khabibulin, Dan Boyle (who currently plays for the San Jose Sharks) really helped put the Lightning’s name as a higher priority team in the NHL.
Then players such as Martin St. Louis (who won the Hart Memorial Trophy in 2003-04), Vincent Lecavalier, and Steven Stamkos are keeping the flame lit strong and bright for their fans even in their past few down seasons.
The Lightning also has two formers players in the hall of fame. Dino Ciccarelli and Denis Savard both spent two seasons playing for Tampa.
With numerous historical seasons and star players in the rebuilding of this team the twentieth anniversary season for the Lightning will end up being something to remember along with more memories to come.