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Scouting Report: Tampa Bay Defense and Goaltending

Tuesday, 04.12.2011 / 6:30 PM / 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs Coverage
By Michelle Crechiolo
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Scouting Report: Tampa Bay Defense and Goaltending
The Tampa Bay Lightning are generally known for their dynamic forward lineup with stars like Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier highlighting the list. But first-year general manager Steve Yzerman went to work over the summer adding some veteran presences to steady his blue line, which already had alternate captain Mattias Ohlund and Victor Hedman, the second-overall draft pick in 2009. Yzerman re-added Pavel Kubina, who won a Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2004, and signed veterans Brett Clark and Randy Jones. He then acquired Eric Brewer from St. Louis (who had been serving as Blues captain at the time) on Feb. 18 after signing power-play presence Marc-Andre Bergeron on Jan. 4. Dwayne Roloson and Mike Smith have been quite the goaltending tandem for the Lightning, as they have a combined 30-20-6 record in a Bolts uniform between the two of them.

Scroll down to see a detailed scouting report on each member of Tampa Bay’s defense and goaltending corps, or click a specific player's name below to be taken to their profile.

DEFENSEMEN:
ERIC BREWER
VICTOR HEDMAN
MIKE LUNDIN
PAVEL KUBINA
BRETT CLARK
MATTIAS OHLUND
RANDY JONES
MARC-ANDRE BERGERON


GOALTENDERS:
DWAYNE ROLOSON
MIKE SMITH






Eric Brewer Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman acquired Brewer from St. Louis on Feb. 18, who had been serving as the Blues captain for the past two years and paced the team’s blueliners with a career-high tying eight goals at the time of the trade. The two-way defenseman has fit in nicely with his new club, as he leads the Bolts with an average of 21:34 minutes per game and is Tampa Bay’s best penalty killer, skating a team-leading 3:01 shorthanded minutes per contest. Brewer, 31, is in his 12th NHL season and spent time with the New York Islanders and the Edmonton Oilers before heading to St. Louis. Brewer has been to the playoffs twice in his career – once in 2001 and again in 2003, both times with Edmonton – getting knocked out in the first round in Game 6 each time.

Victor Hedman The Ornskoldsvik, Sweden native – the same city that produced NHL stars Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Peter Forsberg and Markus Naslund – is the youngest player on the Lightning roster at 20 years, three months. Hedman, drafted No. 2 overall by Tampa Bay in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, is in his sophomore NHL season and posted 26 points (six more than his rookie year total) through 79 regular-season games. The Swedish defenseman’s biggest asset, both literally and figuratively, is his size – Hedman stands at an imposing 6-foot-6, 229 poinds. Despite his imposing frame, Hedman is an extremely mobile skater who can move the puck well but also plays solid shutdown defense in his own end. 

Mike Lundin Lundin, a smart and swift puck-moving defenseman, is in his third season with the Lightning, the team that drafted him in the fourth round (No. 102 overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He returned to the lineup on March 9 after missing 13 games with an upper-body injury and ranks fourth on the team with an average of 20:14 minutes per game. Lundin doesn’t have a lot of flash, instead relying on being positionally sound and playing a solid fundamental game. He thrives in a shutdown role and plays with poise under pressure.


Pavel Kubina Kubina is just one of three Lightning players (Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier being the others) left from Tampa Bay’s 2004 Stanley Cup championship-winning squad. Kubina was drafted by the Lightning in the seventh round (179th overall) in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft and spent the first eight seasons of his career with the organization before getting traded to Toronto for the 2006-07 campaign. Kubina spent the next three seasons with the Maple Leafs, played for Atlanta for the 2009-10 campaign and rejoined the Lightning last July on the second day of free agency. While his production has slowed down, Kubina has certainly displayed a nose for the net over his career, as he is first on the all-time franchise list for goals by a defenseman with 69. He posted a career-high 17 goals the year the Lightning won the Cup in 2004 and ranks second among Tampa Bay defensemen with an average of 2:21 minutes on the man-advantage. Two of his four goals this season were game-winners.

Brett Clark Clark, 34, is the Lightning’s best offensive defenseman, as he accounted for 40 percent of the 20 goals scored by Tampa Bay blueliners. Clark, in his first season with the team after signing a free-agent contract with Tampa Bay last July, finished the regular season with eight goals and 31 points. He’s been dynamite on the man-advantage for the Lightning, usually serving as the lone defenseman and quarterback of Tampa Bay’s dynamic power play.  Six of Clark’s eight goals have been scored on the power play, as have 17 of his 31 points.


Mattias Ohlund Ohlund is in his second season with the Lightning after signing a six-year contract with Tampa Bay in June 2009. Prior to heading to Tampa Bay, Ohlund spent the first 11 seasons of his career with Vancouver, who drafted him in the first round (13th overall) in 1994. Throughout his career, Ohlund made a name for himself with his ability to create offense as he tallied 47 goals in four seasons with the Canucks from 2003-08. But as he’s gotten older, Ohlund’s production has tailed off – he has no goals in two full seasons with the Lightning – and is instead fulfilling a more physical, shutdown role for Tampa Bay. The 6-foot-4, 229-pound defenseman ranks second on the team (and first among Lightning blueliners) with 135 hits and is second with 135 blocked shots.

Randy JonesLightning general manager Steve Yzerman signed Jones to a one-year deal last August in order to add depth to Tampa Bay’s blue line. Jones has recorded 13 points (1G-12A) in a Bolts uniform after posting 21 points (5G-18A) last season with Los Angeles. Jones has the ability to put up some impressive numbers, as he tallied a career-high 31 points (5G-26A) in 2007-08 after posting 22 points (4G-18A) the season before, both campaigns being played with Philadelphia. Jones, who shoots left, is capable of playing either side of the ice and in all situations. Jones, 29, has been to the playoffs each of the last two campaigns, and that veteran experience and leadership should greatly benefit this Lightning squad.

Marc-Andre Bergeron After posting 14 goals with Minnesota in 2008-09 and 13 goals with Montreal last season, Bergeron became an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and did not sign with an NHL club until he inked a contract with Tampa Bay on Jan. 4. Bergeron spent the first 13 games with Norfolk of the American Hockey League before joining Tampa Bay on Feb. 6. The 30-year-old blueliner, who has recorded seven points (2G-5A) in 22 games with the Lightning, quarterbacks Tampa Bay’s second power-play unit.




Dwayne Roloson – Roloson, 41, is the Bolts’ No. 1 man between the pipes, as Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman acquired the veteran netminder – in his 14th NHL season – from the New York Islanders on Jan. 1 to steady to what had been a sometimes troublesome position for Tampa Bay during the first half of the season. He posted an 18-12-4 record, four shutouts, a 2.56 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage during the regular season. The lanky Roloson – who stands at 6-foot-1, 170 pounds – is making his first trip to the playoffs since 2006. Five years ago, he backstopped Edmonton to the Stanley Cup Finals before getting injured in Game 1, a series that eventually saw the Oilers fall in seven games to Carolina. Roloson – who is 4-1 in his last five starts with a 2.01 goals-against average and .933 save percentage – utilizes an aggressive style, preferring to get into position at the top of his crease to challenge shooters. Roloson, who is the third goaltender in the last 33 years to record a shutout at age 41 or older, also likes to spend more time reacting to pucks while standing rather than sliding on his knees.

Mike Smith – Smith, acquired by Tampa Bay in the trade that sent Brad Richards to Dallas at the trade deadline in 2009, began the season 4-0 for the first time in his career. He went on to backstop his way to a 12-6-1 record in 21 games as the Bolts’ backup and has gone 3-1-1 in his last four contests after clearing waivers on Feb. 3, culminating with a 41-save performance in the Lightning’s final regular-season game against Carolina on April 9.
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