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Tampa Bay Lightning

Team Overview: Chemistry is one hell of a thing, there isn’t much to suggest that the Lightning would be a competitive team as they own the slowest and least skilled defense in the game and an unimpressive set of forwards after Brian Bradley. Yet, somehow, almost inexplicably, they manage to cobble together a lightweight lineup that does just enough to win their fair share of games.

Forwards: To say that the Lightning are utterly bereft of top end talent after Bradley would be an insult to understatements. At the very least though, the lineup is littered with useful, light weight options that can stir up some trouble on defense and work the counter attack in their favor to cash in on some easy/garbage goals.



Mikael Andersson: 6 weight, 2/4 skating, 2/2 shot, 3 sth & pass, 2/3 aware, Shoots: L

Oddly enough, this no shot, straight line, burner-ish type player is the best offensive winger on the roster. Players don’t get much more unspectacular than Andersson, but he does the trick in many instances. Being the only player on the roster above 3 speed, Andersson’s ability to quickly move the puck up the ice is a vital change of pace in an otherwise sluggish attack. Thankfully, Andersson does have an average set of playmaking skills to go along with his speed so he isn’t just carrying the puck up the ice for his health. Scoring though, is something of an art with Andersson, his piddly shot wont strike the fear into any goalie as he is mainly an in close deker. While not the biggest of hitters on defense, he is still able to bring down the heavyweights with ease and it is nice to have one player on the ice with a bit of speed to run down players in open ice.

Brian Bradley: 4 weight, 4/3 skating, 4/5 shot, 3 sth & pass, 4/3 aware, Shoots: R

One of the prevailing traits of an expansion team is a dearth of top end talent; this is not the case for Tampa as Bradley is a border line Round 1 pick in the GDL draft. The one obvious weakness about Bradley is his speed. Fine, it is what it is, pretty dang average, but it does not hamper him enough from being one of the games truly legitimate snipers. Bradley’s shot turns a pop gun offense into one that can hurt any team in the league as he is dangerous from almost anywhere inside the offensive zone. Despite his lack of speed, Bradley is still very capable of bouncing off a few body checks and driving the puck to the net in close for a floater or deke. What sets Bradley apart from several other sniping slugs is that he can really check the snot out of the opposition, which comes in real handy in helping to change the tide of a game.

Steve Kasper: 5 weight, 3/3 skating, 2/3 shot, 3 sth & pass, 1/3 aware, Shoots: L

Much like Andersson, on a standard team Kasper wouldn’t garner a 2nd look despite his ability to body check effectively. For the Lightning though, Kasper is a good wing option because he has just enough playmaking ability to feed Bradley consistently as he is rather adept at dodging and absorbing body checks to make the play. It is pretty rare for a forward to have such low offensive awareness, but this doesn’t hamper Kasper too much as he is still able to convert on the odd goal and he is very focused on defense, which isn’t a bad thing to have when the other two forwards are going to be doing a lot of work on offense.

This is the most balanced line the Lightning can hope to ice as it provides some speed, some scoring touch, and a good deal of defensive ability. If either Andersson or Kasper can augment Bradley’s production, the Lightning becomes rather effective, and not in just expansion team terms, but league wide terms.



Rob DiMaio: 5 weight, 2/3 skating, 2/2 shot, 2 sth & pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: R

If all you wanted in your life was another guy just like Kasper, but less skilled, then you can stop your search. Strictly a weight bug option, DiMaio provides a bit more defensive edge then Andersson which could come in handy in an attempt to slow the game down and turn the neutral zone into a wasteland of turnovers and mutilated bodies. With the puck on his stick DiMaio is as unskilled as they come, but if he’s allowed to waltz right in on the goalie, he’s bound to convert on some of his chances.

While this is in the running for slowest line in the league, it is an effective trap line because not many teams can match a line of 5-4-5 weight. It essentially eliminates the body check for the opponent as they are now reduced to poke checks and holds which may provide some problems. The scoring touch isn’t reduced all that much by a change from Andersson to DiMaio as Bradley is still the obvious go to player.

Who’s the Fattie?


Chris Kontos: 8 weight, 3/3 skating, 3/5 shot, 3 sth & pass, 4/3 aware, Shoots: L

While it may be a difficult decision to give up such a superior weight advantage, sometimes it’s useful plugging a little extra offense into the lineup against a heavier team if things start to go awry. Kontos greatest and only strength is his ability to finish. Kontos isn’t unfamiliar with the concept of filling the slot, and with a pair of flyweight options on the wing, they should be able to feed him enough chances to make him worth icing. Using Kontos in a one-on-one fashion is likely to end unsuccessfully as he has neither the skating ability or weight advantage to work his way into the danger areas, if this is a main mode of attack for the user, it’s likely best to put Kontos on the wing or just leave him on the bench entirely.

No other expansion team has one player with a 3/5 shot or better, Tampa has two. If they can get chances, they are going to put some goals on the board. The defense takes a hit though, but against a heavier or slower team, it’s a trade off worth considering.

Other Options: None of the players remaining on the roster are worth GDL consideration, hell; Kasper, Andersson, and DiMaio never get drafted. Still, it doesn’t hurt to talk about a couple of other bums.

Marc Bureau: 7 weight, 3/3 skating, 2/2 shot, 3 sth, 2 pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: R

Average skating middle weight with a sub par skill set, you didn’t expect anything good did you?

Danton Cole: 7 weight, 3/3 skating, 2/2 shot, 2 sth & pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: R

The thing about Danton Cole is...

Forwards: 5/10

Defense: On paper, the Lightning have the worst rated and most unimpressive defense in the entire game...and they don’t play far from it. While not crippled by a brigade of heavyweights, the Lightning have the slowest top pairing defense in the league that is compensated by no other skill.

Roman Hamrlik: 7 weight, 3/2 skating, 3/1 shot, 3 sth, 2 pass, 2/3 aware, Shoots: L

Hamrlik garners nothing more than a shoulder shrug from me. He’s slow, isn’t a threat offensively, doesn’t give a good breakout pass, and he doesn’t do a good job of containing a light weight bearing down on him with speed. This is the Lightning’s #1 defenseman though, the price of having a legitimate forward on an expansion team is rather steep it seems.

Marc Bergevin: 6 weight, 2/2 skating, 3/0 shot, 2 sth & pass, 2/2 aware, Shoots: L

Things have already degraded down to this? Damn, that was fast. Bergevin is light and he is also light. Ignore his shot, he’s never going to use it and if he does, well, I don’t need to tell you how it’ll end. Bergevin is pretty good at dealing with slugs, mainly because he is light. Have I mentioned that Bergevin is light yet? Good, I just wanted to make it clear that Bergevin is indeed light.

The main objective of the Lightning defenders is this. Don’t get caught out of your own zone, slow down the attack, and allow the forwards to mop up. If breakaways are limited and the Lightning defenders stay home, Bergevin and Hamrlik can do a fairly bang up job and contribute to the defensive game plan. If they get caught though, they won’t be able to do a thing about it. Also, don’t let them carry the puck for too long, they won’t intimidate anyone with their abilities.

Other Options: The rest of the pairings I can suggest are of equal stink, so I’m not even going to bother breaking them down.

Bob Beers: 9 weight, 3/3 skating, 2/2 shot, 2 sth & pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: R

Bad ass name, bad player. If a heavy defenseman is going to be iced he has to have some skills, Beers possesses nothing worth mentioning though. Bergevin provides a similar skill set in a slimmer package, don’t keep this Beers on ice.

Shawn Chambers: 9 weight, 2/2 skating, 2/1 shot, 2 sth & pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: L

Hey, this is a major improvement from when he was rated a 1 overall in NHL 93, take what you can get.

Chris Lipuma: 6 weight, 1/1 skating, 1/0 shot, 1 sth & pass, 2/1 aware, Shoots: L

I mention Lipuma because he is a default sub, I’d suggest subbing him, but honestly, what’s the difference? At least Lipuma is light. Why does this sound familiar?

Defense: .5/10

Goalie Zone: Wendell Young is not Glenn Healy, I can’t get much more positive than that without lying through my teeth.

Wendell Young: 6 weight, 3/3 skating, 2/2 aware, 3 puck control, 3/2/3/3 save, Catches: L

Young occasionally gets starting consideration in the GDL and Blitz leagues, he typically platoons at best though. Be prepared to use a lot of goalie control with Young, he isn’t very strong against most scoring tactics although he may provide a few surprising saves from time to time.

Goalie: 2.5/10

Bottom Line: Despite a horribly rated defense and below average goaltending, the Lightning ought to be respected. Their ability to score and play team defense allows them to play a few different styles and adjust to their opponent as needed. Against a superior team in the hands of a skilled player, the uphill climb to victory will still be a daunting, yet not impossible task.

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TB is underrated

For your rapon line, I prefer having Kasper at LW and Andersson at RW. I find Kasper to be more effective Overall than Andersson.

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Pretty difficult to win with these guys, but not impossible to do so. It's also fun to test the newbs with this team.

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The final results on how I end up in the leagues I'm participating in. Goes from champion, runner-up to any other rounds in the playoffs to not making the playoffs.

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TB is underrated

For your rapon line, I prefer having Kasper at LW and Andersson at RW. I find Kasper to be more effective Overall than Andersson.

Yeah, I can see how Kasper could be more effective on the left but this is the line I used to lead the classic league in goals scored one season, so of course I had to mention it.

While I'm boasting about myself, I forgot to mention John Tucker, he of the Blitz 1 championship team.

John Tucker

2 games played, 1:22 ice time, 1 check against.


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  • 8 months later...
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  • 3 years later...

CB Notes


Brian Bradley: Bradley's shoulders may no longer be wide enough to carry his team to respectability but he is still the best player on any expansion roster due to his shooting acumen and checking ability. A lack of speed severely downgrades his ability to slice through defenses and it may be wise to consider Bradley on the wing to allow a heavier player to man the middle.

Mikael Andersson: Aside from his speed, there is every reason to leave Andersson on the bench as he now may have issues dancing around the bigger defenders he used to be able to avoid. Probably still a useful option on the wing as a defensive specialist given the appropriate matchup.

Steve Kasper and Rob DiMaio: Neither is no longer a must start as employing the Kasper-Bradley-DiMaio line now becomes much more suspect to heavier lineups as all three members are just asking to be bodied with a CB check. They should still be a part of the winger rotation as there is no longer a clear fit in the 3rd forward spot.

Chris Kontos: Adding another sniper in Kontos allows Tampa to remain competitive and add a little weight variety to a line in desperate need of it. Kontos is a far better center than he is a winger but he and Bradley do allow the user to have some freedom in deciding how to run the offense and adjust to other teams lineups by lining up them up against an opponent they can check.

Marc Bureau and Danton Cole: If they weren't bench fodder before they should be now as there are better weight bug options and CB options with equivalent skill sets.

John Tucker: 9 weight, 2/3 skating, 3/2 shot, 3 sth & pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: R

An underwhelming option, Tucker is the best CB option on the right which allows Kontos/Andersson to remain on the left and Bradley in the middle. Tucker is an okay passer and should be able to feed Bradley if the defense gives Tucker room to operate.

Adam Creighton: 10 weight, 2/2 skating, 2/2 shot, 2 sth, 3 pass, 3/2 aware, Shoots: L

Pretty rudimentary skill set, Creighton is the CB champion of the Lightning forward unit but his lack of speed may preclude him from serious ice time.


Roman Hamrlik: Still far too slow and unskilled to be a #1 defender, Hamrlik remains so in Tampa as no one else is capable enough to take the mantle from him even with CB in play. He sadly remains the best weight bug option on the team.

Marc Bergevin: Bergevin remains a light player but his puck skills are so pathetic that it is difficult to justify starting him over Hamrlik for the ability to body check the odd 8 weight player. Bergevin is best served riding pine until Hamrlik finds himself in penalty or injury trouble.

Bob Beers: Speed. Demon. I kid but Beers should now be elevated into a starting spot due to his speed and ability to play his natural right side. He is the CB component of the starting defensive unit and will be the perfect backup for a weight bugger such as Andersson or Kasper on the RW.

New D-Pair: Hamrlik-Beers

With Bergevin becoming redundant, Beers regains his starting spot and we should all smile a bit when Beers name pops up on the score sheet after a goal.

Joe Reekie: 11 weight, 3/2 skating, 3/0 shot, 3 sth, 2 pass, 2/2 aware, Shoots: L

For the biggest CB checking junkies, Reekie does warrant consideration as 11 weight defenders can be quite optimal if they can skate. Reekie I assure you can not skate and is probably best served as Beers main backup as Reekies downgraded skating and awareness leave him the inferior defender of the two.

Bottom Line

For a team that relied so heavily on being a bunch of weight bug maniacs, Tampa has done quite well for themself in light of CB tech. With competent heavyweights such as Kontos and Beers the Lightning avoid being a helpless expansion team and they can still go pure weight bug if need be.

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It's funny you're so down on Cole/Bureau. I haven't played with Tampa much on the emulator, but on console the weight bug makes them a lot of fun.

If I play with Tampa, the starting lineup would typically be:

LW Bureau

C Bradley

RW Cole

D Beers

D Lipuma

Weight bug means checks and more offensive opportunities.

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