You can make a solid argument that the previous month has been one of the worst in Tampa Bay Lightning history. After finishing off the 2018-19 season with 62 wins, the Lightning had what can be
Following that bad week, the Lightning watched the Blue Jackets flounder their way out of the playoffs against another division rival, the Boston Bruins, all while rumors swirled about whom Yzerman was going to take with him back to Detroit. At points, it seemed all but certain that assistant general manager Pat Verbeek and director of scouting Al Murray would be
If this came true, suddenly the Lightning would be without the heart and soul of their rebuild, as both Verbeek and Murray were two of the key figures who turned the franchise from a laughing stock into a contender. Losing their collective experience
Lightning Spared a Total Loss
This is inarguably the best-case scenario for the Lightning, as their rookie general manager,
Murray of Key Importance to Lightning
In many ways, the biggest keep for Tampa Bay was Murray. By retaining his scouting expertise, the Lightning will be able to enter the 2019 Draft with a clear schedule for
It was, after all, Murray and his scouts who consistently found NHL-level talent throughout all rounds of the draft, a key quality that has
Lightning Can Still Thrive
This doesn’t mean that the Lightning won’t miss Yzerman or Verbeek, of course. Both of these men will always hold a special place with the franchise, as it was their blood, sweat, and tears that brought Tampa Bay to the top of the NHL.
What it does mean, though, is that this isn’t the end for the Lightning. By keeping his core of Murray, Roest, and Pushor, BriseBois will have some of the top hockey minds in the world to help him survive and thrive throughout his first offseason as general manager.
So, while this was far from a win for the franchise, it wasn’t necessarily a loss either. Given the state of the Lightning over the last month, that is a positive outcome to build upon as a grueling offseason approaches.
Eugene Helfrick is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer who is actually from Tampa Bay. He has written about the Lightning for six years, covering everything from their run to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, to their crushing first-round exit in 2019, to their redemption in the bubble in 2020. While he is happy to talk about just about anything from cows to cars to video games, hockey will always remain one of his favorite pastimes.