Tampa Bay Lightning Free Agents: Best FA Options Still out There This Summer

Eric SteitzAnalyst IIIAugust 21, 2012

Tampa Bay Lightning Free Agents: Best FA Options Still out There This Summer

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    The Tampa Bay Lightning have addressed their glaring weaknesses from last season—defense and goaltending—but there are still some free agents on the market that could fit in with the Bolts.

    The thought of an NHL lockout has practically put a freeze on free agency, which has allowed teams to further assess their rosters and examine the recovery of injured players.

    Injuries decimated Tampa’s defense last season. General manager Steve Yzerman addressed that concern with the signings of Matt Carle and Sami Salo. 

    The Bolts also brought in former Nashville Predators backup Anders Lindback to address their goaltending depth.  

    With free agency on hold during the collective bargaining agreement talks and the scheduled start of the regular season less than two months away, these are some of the names that Tampa could bring in to further improve their roster.

Carlo Colaiacovo

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    This may be a bit of a surprise to see an injury-plagued defenseman on the list of people the Bolts should sign.

    Colaiacovo has never played in more than 67 games in a season. Despite his injuries, he is still regarded as a strong puck-moving defenseman. 

    With Tampa’s revamped defensive depth, Colaiacovo could be a great addition, for the right price. 

    He just finished a two-year, $4.25 million deal with the St. Louis Blues. During that period, he had 45 points and played in 129 games.

    With nearly $7 million in cap space, Colaiacovo could provide even more defensive depth. 

    A one-year deal worth around $1.5 million for Colaiacovo, while Tampa waits on Mattias Ohlund to get healthy, sounds fitting.

Jochen Hecht

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    Jochen Hecht has 15 NHL seasons under his belt, including the last nine as a Buffalo Sabre. 

    Last season was a down year for him as he played in 22 games and recorded just eight points, dealing with concussion-related issues. 

    When healthy, Hecht is a consistent 40-point scorer and a gritty guy who can contribute in a number of ways. 

    The 35-year-old German would fit well in the Bolts’ 1-3-1-style on the third or fourth line. 

    As a left winger, Tampa would have a good three-way rotation with Tom Pyatt, Hecht and Vladislav Namestnikov. 

    Hecht’s last contract, a four-year deal worth $3.525 million per season, is a steep price for the Lightning. If they can get him at a bargain, he would be another great locker room addition.

Tom Kostopoulos

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    The Tampa Bay Lightning have a lot of skilled forwards, but very few gritty guys. Kostopoulos is a fourth-line enforcer that could provide the Bolts with a bit of an edgy side. 

    He's recorded over 700 penalty minutes in 11 NHL seasons and also has over 400 hits in the last four years. 

    Kostopoulos even chips in offensively when he has to. The 33-year-old has 156 career points. 

    His production dropped during his last few seasons in Calgary and Carolina, but he could still be a valuable addition for Tampa. 

    He’s coming off a three-year, $2.75 million deal that cost Calgary less than $1 million per season. That could be just the right price for Tampa to add a gritty guy to protect Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis.