After missing most of the second half of the season, inlcuding playoffs with the Montreal Canadiens due to an “upper body” injury (i.e. shoulder), Tanguay had minor arthoscopic surgery to repair his injured wing.
Then came July 1st, when unrestricted free agents were free to sign with any team. After all the big names came off the board, most contending teams were close to the salary cap, and Tanguay was still left without a team.
Finally, Tanguay and the Tampa Bay Lightning came to a one year, $2.5 million agreement.
In a fantasy hockey perspective, there were many decent scenarios for Tanguay, but the prospect of teaming up with Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis on a francophone line, is surely the best case scenario for Tanguay. However, the three Quebecouers are unlikely to terrorize teams together at the same time, unless if it is on the powerplay.
Based on the success that Steven Stamkos had with St. Louis during the tail end of the season last year, including the World Championships for Canada, those two will likely start the year paired up. This leaves the Lightning with a 1A and a 1B line combination situation where Lecavalier will center Tanguay and Ryan Malone on the 1A line. To say the least, Lecavalier seems excited.
On the 1B line Stamkos will center St. Louis and the winner of a top-6 spot, which is a competition between Steve Downie, Stephane Veilleux, Martins Karsums and Dana Tyrell.
Both lines should get plenty of opportunities to score, especially if Lecavalier can bounce back after a disappointing 67-point season, and if Stamkos can build off a strong finish to last year’s rookie season.
This means that Alex Tanguay has an opportunity this season to rejuvenate his career after two sub-par seasons. He can parlay a successful season with Tampa Bay into a bigger, more secure contract next year when he becomes a free agent once again.
Tanguay did not have a bad season last year, per se. His health was the only major road block last season. He only played 50 games, but scored 41 points. Had he not been injured, he would have easily eclipsed the 60 point plateau. Now put a playmaking and healthy Tanguay beside Lecavalier and Malone, who like to score, and 60 points should be a breeze.
Tanguay’s injury may scare off other managers, but it should not scare you. Before last season, Tanguay averaged 76 games a season. Granted that Tanguay has a healthy season, where he plays at least 72 games, I would peg him for 21 goals, 43 assists, 64 points. Obviously, if he goes the entire season with no injuries, that number goes up. But 64 points is pretty good for a guy who is likely to be ignored in drafts because of last season.
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