2008–09 Tampa Bay Lightning season
|2008–09 Tampa Bay Lightning|
|General Manager||Brian Lawton|
|Coach||Barry Melrose (Oct/Nov)
Rick Tocchet (Nov-Apr) interim
|Alternate captains||Andrej Meszaros (Oct/Nov)
Jeff Halpern (Nov-Apr)
Martin St. Louis
|Arena||St. Pete Times Forum|
|Average attendance||16,054 (82.3% total)|
|Goals||Martin St. Louis (30)|
|Assists||Martin St. Louis (50)|
|Points||Martin St. Louis (80)|
|Penalties in minutes||Evgeny Artyukhin (151)|
|Plus/minus||Richard Petiot (+5)|
|Wins||Mike Smith (14)|
|Goals against average||Mike Smith (2.62)|
The 2008–09 Tampa Bay Lightning season was the 17th season for the franchise in Tampa Bay. After a season of turnover in ownership, management and players, the team had a turbulent regular season. The Lightning failed to qualify for the playoffs.
On June 3, it was announced that head coach John Tortorella would not return to the team despite having another year left on his contract.
The NHL board of governors on Wednesday, June 18, approved the sale of the Tampa Bay Lightning. The sale of the Tampa Bay Lightning was made to movie and television producer Oren Koules. The deal depended the closing of the financial deal of $200 million US to buy the team and lease the St. Pete Times Forum. Koules, 47, played in Medicine Hat and Calgary in the Western Hockey League in the early 1980s. In more recent years, he achieved success with the Saw movie franchise and the television sitcom Two and a Half Men. Among his business partners in the Lightning deal is former NHL player Len Barrie.
On June 24, the Lightning announced that Barry Melrose was hired as the team's new head coach. Melrose had not coached in the NHL since 1995, with the Los Angeles Kings. Since that time, he had served as an analyst for the ESPN networks.
Goaltender Marc Denis's contract was bought out by the Lightning on June 25, almost 2 years to the date after his acquisition from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Denis had one year remaining on his contract.
The Lightning acquired the rights to left wings Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a conditional draft pick in 2009. Malone then agreed to a 7-year contract with the Lightning two days before he was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.
The whirlwind thirty-two days of questionable moves by new ownership came to a head on July 4 when, despite coming off a recent contract extension, Dan Boyle was traded along with Brad Lukowich to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Matt Carle (who would be traded in early November), Ty Wishart, a first round draft pick in 2009 (which was traded in August) and a fourth round draft pick in 2010. Boyle was pressured to waive his no-trade clause by Tampa Bay's ownership, who said they would otherwise place him on waivers where he would likely be claimed by the Atlanta Thrashers. Frustrated at interference in the team's hockey operations by owners Barrie and Koules, seven days later GM Jay Feaster resigned, despite having 3 years remaining on his contract. Indeed, Brian Lawton had already taken over the position, though not officially until October 2. Tortorella would later go on to label the new owners as "cowboys" for these and other dubious moves, a moniker that would stick with them.
On August 29, the Lightning acquired defenceman Andrej Meszaros from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for defencemen Filip Kuba, as well as Alexandre Picard, and a first-round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft (obtained in the Boyle deal with the San Jose Sharks). The Lightning would go on to sign Meszaros to a 6-year contract worth $24-million.
On September 18, the Lightning announced that their new team captain would be Vincent Lecavalier.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will be playing five preseason games before opening the season against the New York Rangers on October 4 in Prague. Of special note, this is the first time that Tampa Bay will be opening the season outside of North America. This will also be the first time that the Lightning will play a preseason game outside North America, playing Eisbaren Berlin in Germany on September 28. It was announced later that the Lightning would also play against HC Slovan Bratislava of the Slovak Extraliga on September 30.
|Saturday, September 20||Pittsburgh||Mellon Arena||7:30pm||5-4 W (SO)|
|Monday, September 22||Pittsburgh||St. Pete Times Forum||7:30pm||3-2 L|
|Tuesday, September 23||NY Rangers||St. Pete Times Forum||7:30 pm||3-2 W|
|Thursday, September 25||NY Rangers||Madison Square Garden||7:00 pm||4-2 W|
|Sunday, September 28||Eisbaren Berlin||Berlin, Germany||10:00 pm||4-1 W|
|Tuesday, September 30||HC Slovan Bratislava||Bratislava, Slovakia||12:00 pm||3-2 W (SO)|
- Note: all times EST and bold games are Home Games.
Regular season 
Divisional standings 
|5||14||Tampa Bay Lightning||82||24||40||18||210||279||66|
Conference standings 
|3||y-New Jersey Devils||AT||82||51||27||4||244||209||106|
|7||New York Rangers||AT||82||43||30||9||210||218||95|
|12||Toronto Maple Leafs||NE||82||34||35||13||250||293||81|
|14||Tampa Bay Lightning||SE||82||24||40||18||210||279||66|
|15||New York Islanders||AT||82||26||47||9||201||279||61|
bold - qualified for playoffs, y - division winner, z - placed first in conference (and division)
AT - Atlantic Division, NE - Northeast Division, SE - Southeast Division
Game log 
|2008–09 Game Log|
October: 3-3-3 (Home 1-2-3, Road 2-1-0)
November: 3-7-4 (Home 2-2-2, Road 1-5-2)
December: 4-6-3 (Home 1-2-2, Road 3-4-1)
January: 7-7-0 (Home 4-3-0, Road 3-4-0)
February: 3-7-2 (Home 3-3-1, Road 0-4-1)
March: 4-6-5 (Home 1-4-3, Road 3-2-2)
April: 0-4-1 (Home 0-2-0, Road 0-2-1)
Record vs. Opponents 
Notes: * denotes division winner; teams in bold are in the Southeast Division; teams in italics qualified for the playoffs; points refer to the points achieved by the team whom the Thrashers played against
The Tampa Bay Lightning failed to qualify for the 2009 NHL playoffs.
Player stats 
Note: Min, TOI = Minutes played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T,T/OT = Ties; OTL = Overtime losses; GA = Goals-against; GAA = Goals-against average; SO = Shutouts; SA = Shots against; SV = Shots saved; SV% = Save percentage;
†Denotes player spent time with another team before joining Lightning. Stats reflect season totals.
Bold/italics denotes franchise record
Awards and records 
|Steven Stamkos||1st NHL Game||October 4, 2008|
|Steven Stamkos||1st NHL Assist
1st NHL Point
|October 28, 2008|
|Steven Stamkos||1st NHL Goal||October 30, 2008|
|Steven Stamkos||1st NHL Hat Trick||February 17, 2009|
|July 4, 2008||To Tampa Bay
First-round pick in 2009
Fourth-round pick in 2010 draft
|To San Jose
|August 29, 2008||To Tampa Bay
|To Ottawa Senators
First-round pick in 2009 draft (pick acquired in Matt Carle trade, later traded)
|September 29, 2008||To Tampa Bay
Conditional 2009 draft pick (6th round, Jaroslav Janus)
|To Nashville Predators
|October 6, 2008||To Tampa Bay
|To Vancouver Canucks
|November 7, 2008||To Tampa Bay
Fourth-round pick in 2009 draft(later traded)
|To Philadelphia Flyers
Third-round pick in 2009 draft(later traded)
|November 25, 2008||To Tampa Bay
|To Phoenix Coyotes
|November 30, 2008||To Tampa Bay
|To Dallas Stars
|February 7, 2009||To Tampa Bay
Fourth-round pick in 2009 draft(later traded for Richard Petiot)
|To Carolina Hurricanes
|March 4, 2009||To Tampa Bay
|To Boston Bruins
Second-round pick in 2010 draft
Free Agents 
Claimed from Waivers 
Draft picks 
Tampa Bay entered the NHL Draft Lottery with a 48.8-per-cent chance of winning the lottery after stumbling to a 31-42-9 record in the regular season. The Lightning finished last in the league just four years after winning their first Stanley Cup.
|1||1||Steven Stamkos||(C)||Canada||Sarnia Sting (OHL)|
|4||117 (from San Jose)||James Wright||(C)||Canada||Vancouver Giants (WHL)|
|5||122||Dustin Tokarski||(G)||Canada||Spokane Chiefs (WHL)|
|5||147 (from San Jose)||Kyle De Coste||(RW)||Canada||Brampton Battalion (OHL)|
|6||152||Mark Barberio||(D)||Canada||Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)|
|6||160 (from Florida via Chicago)||Luke Witkowski||(D)||United States||Ohio Junior Blue Jackets (USHL)|
|7||182||Matias Sointu||(RW)||Finland||Ilves Tampere (Finland Jr.)|
|7||203 (from Anaheim)||David Carle||(D)||United States||Shattuck-Saint Mary's (USHS-Minnesota)|
Updated April 2, 2009.
See also 
Farm teams 
|This section is empty. You can help by adding to it. (July 2010)|
- "Lightning Head Coach John Tortorella Will Not Return For 2008-09" (Press release). Tampa Bay Lightning. Retrieved 29 June 2008.
- Oilers sale to Daryl Katz approved by NHL
- Barry Melrose Named Head Coach of Tampa Bay Lightning
- Lightning Buy Out Contract of Goaltender Marc Denis
- Lightning Acquire Rights To Ryan Malone, Gary Roberts
- CANOE - SLAM! Sports - Hockey NHL - Tampa Bay - Lightning sign Mark Recchi to one-year deal
- CANOE - SLAM! Sports - NHL - Bolts win draft lottery
- "NHL.com - Stats". 2008-06-21. Retrieved 2008-06-21.[dead link]
- "Tampa Bay Lightning - Team - Roster". Tampa Bay Lightning. Archived from the original on 28 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-02.