This will be WB Philp's third year writing a BB for us. He's the Tampa writer for Hockey Independent and covers the team 24/7. He knows his Bolts so we recommend you check out his work over over at HI. They also have a fantasy hockey section.
We asked WB seven fantasy questions relating to the Lighting. Check below for his answers.
If you're interested in FHS' breakout picks and fantasy take on the Bolts check out our draft kit which includes The Breakout Bible, the Fantasy Scouting Report (with SuperStats included) and our Fantasy Prospect Database.
BY WB PHILP FROM HOCKEY INDEPENDENT
Q1) Lightning's Breahout of the Year?
Right wing Teddy Purcell. The Lightning forward skated in 81 games for the Lightning last season, posting career highs with 17 goals, 34 assists and 51 points. He had six goals and 17 points in 18 playoff games. In the four-game sweep of the in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Purcell posted six assists to tie the Lightning playoff record for most helpers in a single postseason series. Purcell is on the precipice of stardom and his numbers will again be career highs.
Prediction: 80 games, 25 goals, 38 assists for 63 points.
Q2) Darkhorse Breakout on the Lightning?
Defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron. Quarterbacking one of the league's best power plays and staying away from injury could make Bergeron fantasy draft-worthy. When he has played a full season, the Bolts defenseman has surpassed the 40 point plateau.
Prediction: 76 games, 15 goals, 33 assists for 48 points.
Q3) League-Wide Breakout of the Year?
Forward Kyle Okposo, New York Islanders. Okposo was out until January because of injuries last season or he would have been a 2010-11 breakout player. He came back and played 38 games, registering five goals and 15 assists but was never fully healthy. Now healthy and playing alongside a talented group of youngsters on Long Island, the right winger will have his breakout season this year.
Prediction: 78 games, 28 goals. 36 assists for 64 points.
Q4) Player likely to Breakdown on the Lightning?
Defenseman Mattias Ohlund. Last season, Ohlund missed ten games due to a myriad of injuries and probably should have missed more. While a locker room leader and a coach on the ice, Ohlund's numbers have dwindled over the last seven seasons. In 2010-11 he had zero goals and only five points despite playing an average of almost 19 minutes per game.
Q5) Best Fantasy Prospect on the Lightning?
Forward Brett Connolly. The talented winger was the first pick (6th overall) of the Lightning in the 2010 draft. Connolly has good size and is a natural born scorer. The 19 year old was bitten by the injury bug last year, suffering a concussion while with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships and a minor shoulder separation in the first game of the WHL playoffs. In just 59 games, the 6'2", 188 lbs. forward scored 46 goals and had 27 assists last season with the Prince George Cougars, and was the third leading scorer in the WHL. He has netted 86 goals and 152 points in 144 WHL games. The British Columbia native still has world class speed and uncanny hockey sense. If he can remain healthy, he will be a high scoring first liner over the next decade for the Bolts. Tampa Bay's number one prospect is still a year away from skating on NHL ice and will probably be sent back to the Cougars.
Q6) How do you see Lightning's goalie situation playing out this year?
The Lightning are solid between the pipes with starter Dwayne Roloson, now the NHL's oldest player (He turns 42 next month) returning and free agent Mathieu Garon as the backup. Roli is a physical freak of nature and is always in top condition, but the Lightning took no chances and signed Garon to take some of the regular season load off of him. Look for Garon to play as many as 30 games, especially in back to back situations. All in all, the goaltending will be better than last season, especially with Roloson in the fold at the start of training camp. The Lightning's goalies were nothing short of horrible in the first half of the season last year. With Roloson and Garon on board from the start, the Bolts goaltending will be vastly improved in 2011-12.
Q7) Playing with Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier does good things to one's numbers. Who is going to QB the Lightning's talented power play?
Look for Marc-Andre Bergeron to be the quarterback for the Bolts potent power play. After rehabbing his injured knee in Norfolk, the defenseman played well in the playoffs recording two goals and three points in limited duty. The ten year veteran has a booming slapshot, is a terrific passer and puck mover.
Thanks to WB. If you have any other Lightning related questions and we (or possibly WB) will give them some answers.