Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, July 11, 2021

lightning strikes
This should come as absolutely no surprise: The Tampa Bay Lightning has parted ways with General Manager Jay Feaster, buying out the final three years of his contract.

I’m not going to make claims at being Nostradamus, but just from the way the Bolts’ flurry of trades and signings were announced over the past month, I could see the writing on the wall:

…Based on the way these moves are coming down — all from new owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie, with newly-hired exec Brian Lawton chiming in — we can expect to see General Manager Jay Feaster tender his resignation any day now, since it sure looks like he’s got nothing much to do anymore.

Feaster was being bypassed at every turn, starting with the Entry Draft, and it was embarrassingly evident from his silence in team announcements. I expect Lawton will ascend to the GM role now, although the owners will be as hands-on as ever.

Really, given the activity surrounding the franchise ever since the new ownership took control, this is par for the course. Lots of bold moves that will result in bold results — either successful or not. The early read is that they’re going to suit up, what, 50 forwards per game? As I said before, I didn’t think the team’s offense was the prime trouble spot over the past couple of years. The trading of Brad Richards at last season’s trade deadline was supposed to free up cap space to address other areas, namely a thin defense. Not only has that not happened, but Koules-Barrie managed to gut the blueline even further by strong-arming Dan Boyle to waive his no-trade clause — which tactic basically negated the goodwill they generated by token-drafting David Carle.

At this stage, before the puck drops on the 2008-09 National Hockey League season, it’s hard to argue too much with many of the moves. The overriding factor is that the team was dead last in the NHL last year, so a wide-ranging overhaul is certainly justified. That includes ousting Feaster and former head coach John Tortorella, regardless of the 2004 Stanley Cup championship. But how much change is too much, and is there a comprehensive plan here, outside of making splashy moves? The final judgement will come once games start counting.

In any case, it’ll be interesting. I almost wish I was still living in Tampa Bay so I could watch all this up close. (Fortunately, my hometown Rangers are stirring their own pot with some intrigue, although it’s a distant second-place to Hockey Bay’s antics.)

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 07/11/2021 11:12:21 AM
Category: Hockey
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