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Scouting Report: Lightning Forward Lineup

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
The Tampa Bay Lightning finished the 2010-11 regular season with the National Hockey League’s seventh-ranked (tied) offense, averaging 2.94 goals-per game. Their 247 goals scored was good for second in the Eastern Conference, led by the dynamic duo of Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis. St. Louis finished second in overall scoring with 99 points, with his 68 helpers also ranking second in the league. Stamkos finished second to Anaheim’s Corey Perry in the NHL goal-scoring race, notching 45 tallies and ranking fifth overall with 91 points. The Bolts also finished with the Eastern Conference's top-ranked power play (also good for sixth in the league), clicking at a 20.5-percent success rate.

See below for a detailed scouting report on each member of Tampa Bay’s high-flying forward corps, with the line combinations clarified.

LW Simon Gagne – Lightning GM Steve Yzerman acquired Gagne via trade from Philadelphia last July, where the 31-year-old winger had spent the first 10 seasons of his career after being drafted by the Flyers in 1998. Gagne got off to a rough start with his new team, as he was held pointless with a minus-6 rating in his first six games before missing 18-straight contests due to injury from Oct. 22 to Nov. 27. But Gagne has regained his confidence and has gotten hot when it counts, as he finished the regular season with 12 points (5G-7A) in his last nine contests and 18 points (7G-11A) in his last 13. Gagne possesses dangerous speed and plenty of hockey smarts.
2010-11 REGULAR SEASON STAT CHART: 63 GP | 17G-23A-40P

C Steven Stamkos – After becoming the fastest player in Lightning franchise history to score 40 goals (54 games) on Feb. 6 versus St. Louis, Stamkos’ game cooled off as the regular season wound down, finishing with just five goals over the remaining 28 games. But while the third-year forward may be experiencing a rough patch, he’s still one of the best players in the NHL and is ready to prove himself in his first-ever trip to the postseason. Stamkos, who finished second in the league with 45 goals and tied for fifth with five game-winners, has an absolutely wicked shot that he can tee off with barely a moment’s notice. The 21-year-old center thrives on the man advantage, as he ranks second in the NHL with 17 power-play tallies, fourth with 36 power-play points and averages 4:32 power-play minutes per game. Stamkos is one of those players that has the uncanny ability to find the areas of the ice where the puck is going to be, and capitalize once he gets there.
2010-11 REGULAR SEASON STAT CHART: 82 GP | 45G-46A-91P

RW Ryan Malone – The Pittsburgh native – drafted by the Penguins in the fourth round (115th overall) in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft – is in his third season with the Lightning after Pittsburgh traded him to Tampa Bay in June 2009. Malone was injury-plagued over the second half of the season, missing five-straight games after sustaining a mid-body injury on Jan. 21 before getting re-injured in his first game back on Feb. 8, which forced him to sit out the next 21 games. But the 6-foot-4, 229-pound power forward with soft hands still has his scoring touch, as he produced 38 points (14G-24A) in 54 games. Malone also brings a physical, net-front, grind-it-out presence to the ice, with his 125 hits ranking third on the team.
2010-11 REGULAR SEASON STAT CHART: 54 GP | 14G-24A-38P


LW Teddy Purcell – Purcell, acquired from Los Angeles at last year’s trade deadline in exchange for Jeff Halpern, had a career year in his first regular season with Tampa Bay. The third-year forward established single-season personal-bests with 17 goals, 34 assists and 51 points with the Lightning after recording just 15 points (6G-9A) with the Kings last season. The 6-foot-2, 201-pound winger has slick hands and solid playmaking skills, as evidenced by his 34 helpers (good for third on the team).
2010-11 REGULAR SEASON STAT CHART: 81 GP | 17G-34A-51P

C Vincent Lecavalier – The Bolts captain ended the regular season on a four-game goal streak and recorded points in 10 of his last 11 games, notching 14 points (7G-7A) over that span. After missing 15 games with a broken hand from Nov. 12 to Dec. 11 and scoring just five goals in the first 23 games after his return, the former NHL goal-scoring champion rounded back into form down the stretch – tallying 17 goals and 30 points in the final 29 contests. The rugged 6-foot-4, 208-pound center can certainly snipe, as he’s reached the 20-goal mark for an 11th-straight season. Lecavalier also has five campaigns where he produced 32 or more goals, with his career-high being 52 tallies in 2007, when he won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy.
2010-11 REGULAR SEASON STAT CHART: 65 GP | 25G-29A-54

RW Martin St. Louis – St. Louis ended the regular season as the Lightning’s leading scorer with 99 points (31G-68A) and on a nine-game point streak, notching 14 points (5G-9A) over that span. He had 24 points in his last 17 contests – being held scoreless in just one of those games – and recorded eight multiple-point efforts. The 5-foot-8, 176-pound winger may be the smallest player on the Lightning roster, but St. Louis is extremely dangerous with his low center of gravity, explosive speed and tremendous playmaking ability. He set a career high and posted a single-season franchise record with 68 helpers. St. Louis, who won the Lady Byng Trophy last season as the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability,” has recorded just 12 penalty minutes this season – instead preferring to strike when his opponents are in the box. His average of 4:31 power-play minutes per game ranks second on the squad.
2010-11 REGULAR SEASON STAT CHART: 82 GP | 31G-68A-99P

LW Sean Bergenheim – The Helsinki, Finland native is in his first season with the Lightning after spending the last three campaigns with the New York Islanders. The competitive left winger is a solid two-way player who ranks third on the team with 45 takeaways and who paced the Islanders with four shorthanded goals in 2008-09. Bergenheim, 27, provides a physical presence – ranking sixth with 109 hits – and brings a speed aspect to his game as well.

2010-11 REGULAR SEASON STAT CHART: 80 GP | 14G-15A-29P

C Dominic Moore
– Moore had a career year for the Lightning in his first season with the team after signing a free-agent contract last July. He posted a personal-best 17 tallies (three of those being game-winners) and finished the regular season with a bang, recording four goals and six points in the last eight games. The gritty center isn’t afraid to play in the dirty areas of the ice – in fact, he enjoys it. Moore prides himself on his work ethic and ability to outbattle his opponents in front of the net to create room and opportunities. And while head coach Guy Boucher utilizes the 30-year-old forward on the power play, Moore’s defensive abilities have him averaging over two minutes a game on the penalty kill. He also has a 53.2-percent success rate in the faceoff dot.
2010-11 REGULAR SEASON STAT CHART: 77 GP | 18G-14A-32P

RW Steve Downie – Downie is the Lightning’s resident agitator, as his 171 penalty minutes lead the team and rank 10th (tied) in the league. While Downie certainly has the ability to get under his opponents’ skin, the 24-year-old winger also possesses a nose for the net and his plus-8 rating leads the team. His 10 goals rank ninth (tied) in team scoring while his 22 assists place eighth (tied) and his 31 points are tied for seventh. Downie also is ninth in points among NHL players with over 100 penalty minutes.
2010-11 REGULAR SEASON STAT CHART: 57 GP | 10G-22A-32P

LW Adam Hall – Hall has become a key member of this Bolts squad after spending all of last season with Norfolk of the American Hockey League, Tampa Bay’s top minor-league affiliate. Prior to being sent to the minors, Hall had spent all seven seasons of his pro career in the NHL full-time – including a stint with the Penguins in 2007-08, where he played 46 regular-season games in the black and gold and tallied four points (3G-1A) in Pittsburgh’s run to the Stanley Cup Finals. Hall has made quite a comeback this season, playing a physical, defensive-minded game that has him serving as the Bolts’ top penalty killing forward and hardest hitter. His 2:48 shorthanded minutes per game paced all Tampa Bay forwards during the regular season, as did his 152 hits.

C Nate Thompson – Tampa Bay claimed Thompson off waivers from the New York Islanders last January, and the move has paid off dividends. Thompson has established himself as one of the league’s premier defensive forwards, as he ranks third among league forwards with 81 blocked shots. His 2:43 shorthanded minutes per game during the regular season was good for second among Tampa Bay forwards, and he’s proven to be up to the task when there’s a crucial faceoff that needs to be taken as his 53.2-percent success rate off the draw led the Lightning. Thompson has also been much more productive this season, as he finished the 2010-11 campaign with 25 points (10G-15A) in 79 games played compared to just 14 points (4G-10A) in 118 career games over the previous three seasons combined.
2010-11 REGULAR SEASON STAT CHART: 79 GP | 10G-15A-25P

RW Dana Tyrell – The rookie forward is in his first full season with the Lightning after spending the 2009-10 campaign in Norfolk and the 2008-09 season with both the Admirals and Prince George of the Western Hockey League. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound forward, drafted by the Bolts in the second round (47th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, isn’t overly physical or aggressive, instead relying on his skating ability and hockey instincts. He has six goals and 15 points through 78 games.
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