Though containing a lot of the usual names, this year’s roster also provided some surprises. For the forwards, Vincent Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, Ryan Malone, Teddy Purcell, Benoit Pouliot, Tom Pyatt, Adam Hall, Nate Thompson, BJ Crombeen and Dana Tyrell all made the team as expected. They will be joined by newcomers Cory Conacher and Pierre-Cedric Labrie.
Defensively, there weren’t many camp surprises. That is because all eight players who made the team– Victor Hedman, Eric Brewer, Brian Lee, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Brendan Mikkelson, Sami Salo, Matt Carle and Keith Aulie–have at least a little NHL experience.
The Lightning will begin the season with Anders Lindback and Mathieu Garon sharing the netminding duties. However, head coach Guy Boucher isn’t expected to reveal his Opening Night starter until after Friday’s practice.
Conacher, the final cut from last seasons camp, is coming off a career year in which he captured AHL MVP honors. He also helped lead former Lightning affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals, to a Calder Cup championship last season as well.
This season Conacher had pretty good numbers (16 goals, 28 points, plus-3 rating) with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch, and will likely start out on the second line with Lecavalier and Purcell as he played with them throughout camp. He could also receive some power play time as well.
Labrie, on the other hand, played 14 games with the Lightning last season due to injuries. Though he had only two points in those games, he’s pretty big (6’2″) and not afraid to drop the gloves. He’ll likely begin on the third or fourth line, as he’s also willing to provide a spark whenever the team needs one.
With the roster completely set the Lightning can now focus their attention on Saturday night’s home opener against the Washington Capitals. If things go well the team will get off to a fast start, something that’s imperative given the shortened season, and they could very well end up being 2013′s team of destiny once all’s said and done.