With the 2010-11 NHL regular season drawing closer every day, NHL teams are doing whatever they can to better their franchises.
One franchise that is certainly looking good going into the season is the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The team looks like it can easily pull through and return to the playoffs. They’ve got some great talent on the team with guys like Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Simon Gagne, and Steven Stamkos among others.
One thing that the Lightning might do troubles me though. The Tampa Bay Lightning are considering breaking apart the incredible duo of St. Louis and Stamkos by moving St. Louis to the first line to most likely play with Lecavalier and Gagne.
Although I like the line of Gagne-Lecavalier-St. Louis, I think this would be a mistake on their part.
If you check out the points race from last season, you will see that both St. Louis and Stamkos placed in the top 10 players in the NHL. Stamkos finished fifth with 95 points, and St. Louis finished sixth with 94 points.
They both helped each other when it came to putting points on the board. St. Louis amassed a very impressive total of 65 assists, which helped Stamkos put up 51 goals. Obviously the chemistry is certainly flowing between these two; why anyone would break it up is beyond me.
When you have both linemates reaching high totals like those and one of those guys winning the Richard Trophy for the most goals in the NHL, it’s hard to find a reason to break these two apart.
If you want to win games, you’ve got to score goals, and to score goals you need someone to set you up. All you need to do is fill in the blanks with Stamkos and St. Louis, and you even have it spelled out for you in math as to why these two need to stay together.
If St. Louis were to move up to the first line, then Steve Downie would most likely be moving to the second line. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I doubt that Downie could do as good of a job as St. Louis did.
St. Louis helped Stamkos release his potential last season. He helped find the Stamkos that dominated the OHL and brought him to the National Hockey League. If St. Louis is gone, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Stamkos will struggle, but who knows if he can reach the 50-goal mark again.
There is no doubt in my mind that Stamkos is an amazing talent and can do a lot on the ice, but everyone has that one linemate who you really click with. Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom are an excellent example of that. They both managed to top the 100-point mark last season because they played with one another (given that Ovechkin could easily put up a 100-plus-point season without Backstrom).
Moving forward, I think the Lightning should really keep these two with each other. They really bring out the best in each other, and you want your star players at top form if you want to reach the playoffs—and the playoffs are definitely something Steve Yzerman and the boys at the Lightning organization have on their minds.
This article was originally posted on The Sports Dossier under the name "Keep The Spark: Tampa Bay Lightning Should Not Separate Stamkos and St. Louis." Check out more great pieces from our talented staff of writers.
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