The Tampa Bay Lightning Franchise Four

The Franchise Four. The Mount Rushmore. Four players who tell the story of an organization. In this series, I’ll be taking a look at the history of all 30 NHL squads. For criteria, I’m choosing one forward, defenceman, goaltender and a wild card from any position.

Since entering the NHL in 1992, the Tampa Bay Lightning have won one Stanley Cup title.

During said time frame, the Lightning have iced the likes of Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier, Dan Boyle, Nikolai Khabibulin, Steven Stamkos, Brad Richards, Pavel Kubina, Daren Puppa, Vaclav “Vinny” Prospal, Brian Bradley, Fredrik Modin, Ben Bishop and Victor Hedman.

So, which players make their “Franchise Four?”

4. The Goalie – Nikolai Khabibulin

Nikolai Khabibulin played parts of four seasons with the Lightning. Khabibulin was a two-time All-Star and backstopped the Lightning to the 2003-04 Stanley Cup title. During the cup run, Khabibulin bested all postseason netminders with five shutouts. In Lightning franchise history, Khabibulin ranks second in games played (192), wins (83), save percentage (.914), goals-against average (2.39) and first in shutouts (14).

3. The Defenseman – Dan Boyle

Dan Boyle played six seasons with the Lightning. Boyle was a member of Tampa Bay’s 2003-04 Stanley Cup championship squad. During the cup run, Boyle registered ten points across 23 postseason contests. In Lightning franchise history, Boyle ranks seventh in assists (187), ninth in points (253), goals created (85.3) and tenth in power play goals (31).

2. The Wild Card – Vincent Lecavalier

Vincent Lecavalier was a four-time All-Star across 14 seasons with Tampa Bay. Lecavalier was a member of the Lightning’s 2003-04 Stanley Cup title team. During the 2006-07 campaign, Lecavalier topped all scorers with 52 tallies, earning the Maurice Richard Trophy. The following season, Lecavalier was honored with the King Clancy Memorial Trophy. In his time with Tampa, Lecavalier posted one season of more than 50 goals, two seasons of 40 or more and five seasons of 30 or more. Across 63 postseason contests, Lecavalier recorded 52 points. In Lightning franchise history, Lecavalier ranks first in games played (1,037), goals (383), even strength goals (258), power play goals (112), second in assists (491), points (874), game-winning goals (60), third in penalty minutes (746) and short-handed goals (13).

(James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)
Vincent Lecavalier. (James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)

1. The Forward – Martin St. Louis

A six-time All-Star, Martin St. Louis skated 13 seasons with Tampa Bay. St. Louis was a member of the Lightning’s 2003-04 Stanley Cup winning squad, leading all skaters with 15 helpers. It was a postseason which also saw St. Louis notch nine goals, including three game-winning tallies. The 2003-04 campaign yielded a lot of hardware to St. Louis, earning the Hart Memorial Trophy, Art Ross Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award. That year, St. Louis topped the charts with 56 helpers, 94 points and eight short-handed markers. St. Louis would also earn the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy on three occasions and another Art Ross Trophy, notching a league best 43 assists and 60 points in the abbreviated 2012-13 season. Across 63 postseason contests, St. Louis recorded 68 points. With Tampa Bay, St. Louis recorded one season of more than 40 goals and six seasons of 30 or more. In Lightning franchise history, St. Louis ranks first in points (953), assists (588), goals created (352.4), short-handed tallies (28), game-winning goals (64), second in games played (972), goals (365), even strength goals (241) and third in power play goals (96).

Martin St. Louis Lightning
Martin St. Louis. (Icon SMI)