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 Stanley Cup playoffs.
- 1 Off-season
- 2 Pre-season
- 3 Regular season
- 4 Playoffs
- 5 Player stats
- 6 Awards and records
- 7 Transactions
- 8 Draft picks
- 9 Roster
- 10 See also
- 11 Farm teams
- 12 References
The NHL Board of Governors on June 18 approved the sale of the Tampa Bay Lightning. The sale of the Lightning was made to movie and television producer Oren Koules. The deal depended the closing of the financial deal of US$200 million to buy the team and lease the St. Pete Times Forum. Koules, 47, played in Medicine Hat and Calgary in the Western Hockey League (WHL) 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' contract was bought-out by the Lightning on June 25, almost two 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 wingers Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a conditional draft pick in 2009. Malone then agreed to a seven-year contract with the Lightning two days before he was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.
The whirlwind 32 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 Len Barrie and Oren Koules, seven days later, General Manager Jay Feaster resigned, despite having three years remaining on his contract. Indeed, Brian Lawton had already taken over the position, though not officially until October 2. John 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 defenceman Filip Kuba, as well as Alexandre Picard, and a first-round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft (obtained in the Dan Boyle deal with the San Jose Sharks). The Lightning would go on to sign Meszaros to a six-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 pre-season 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 pre-season game outside North America, playing Eisbaren Berlin in Germany on September 28. It was announced later that the Lightning would also play against 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||Slovan Bratislava||Bratislava, Slovakia||12:00 pm||3-2 W (SO)|
- Note: all times EST and bold games are home games.
The Lightning struggled on the penalty kill, finishing the regular season with the most power-play opportunities against (405) and the most power-play goals allowed (89).
|1||y – Washington Capitals||82||50||24||8||272||245||108|
|5||Tampa Bay Lightning||82||24||40||18||210||279||66|
|1||z – Boston Bruins||NE||82||53||19||10||274||196||116|
|2||y – Washington Capitals||SE||82||50||24||8||272||245||108|
|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
|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.
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
Claimed from waivers
Tampa Bay entered the NHL Draft Lottery with a 48.8% 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 (Finland Jr.)|
|7||203 (from Anaheim)||David Carle||(D)||United States||Shattuck-Saint Mary's (USHS–MN)|
Updated April 2, 2009.
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- "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 Archived July 1, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- Lightning Buy Out Contract of Goaltender Marc Denis Archived July 1, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- Lightning Acquire Rights To Ryan Malone, Gary Roberts Archived July 1, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- CANOE - SLAM! Sports - Hockey NHL - Tampa Bay - Lightning sign Mark Recchi to one-year deal[permanent dead link]
- CANOE - SLAM! Sports - NHL - Bolts win draft lottery Archived June 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- "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.