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NHL Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning Appear To Be Looking Ahead To Next Season

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning is a team that is sitting right on the edges of playoff contention. Tampa Bay could go either way with what they decide to do with their roster in the next day or two as the NHL trade deadline hits. The Lightning traded Marc-Andre Bergeron on Tuesday to the Carolina Hurricanes, so I would think that the decision has been made to give up on this season. I may be wrong about that, but the Bergeron trade makes me believe that is the case.

The problem in Tampa Bay this season hasn’t been the offense but the goaltending. I think if the Lightning could have gotten better play from that position, they would be improving their roster right now instead of trading pieces away. Bergeron was a very solid defenseman for Tampa Bay and his loss will be felt no doubt. The team has more work to do though between now and the beginning of next season.

Steven Stamkos deserves better than scoring all these goals and not making the playoffs in the process. Stamkos has 25 goals and 46 points overall this season going into Tuesday’s action. He is only one man obviously, and Martin St. Louis isn’t getting any younger. I could see Tampa Bay making another move or two before the trade deadline, and while they look to be peeking ahead to next season, anything is possible at this point. I’m not a huge fan of trading pieces away, though, especially when there is only a seven-point gap from the fourth-place Lightning to the top of the Southeast Division. We will all have to wait to see what this trade does for the rest of the season.

Andy Schmidt is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ASchmidtSports, like his Facebook page or add him to your network on Google.