A preview of the next month for Steve Yzerman and the Lightning, Part 1: goaltending

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Here is an option that has really not been explored by many yet. Why not re-sign Antero Niittymaki? Sure, he will cost the team a pretty penny, but if you were to re-sign him, it could provide the team with the bridge that is needed to get a Tokarski or Janus NHL ready. I know the idea of bringing back last year's goaltending duo may make many of you a bit squeamish, but lets not forget that this team was in 6th place in the Eastern Conference right before the Olympic break mostly due to the play of Niittymaki. One has to wonder what he could do in front of a real system -- not to mention his record against the Southeast division alone makes him someone you almost have to consider.

Many championship teams are built from the goal out, and with the Lightning having a solid core of Stamkos and Hedman to build around; you can see why Mr. Yzerman answered the biggest-need question the way he did. Dustin Tokarski is not far away; Yzerman just needs to find a bridge to get us there.

In the next edition of the draft/UFA preview, I will look at the defense both for the big club, and in the system.

Check it out. Lightning Radio is hitting the road. They will be checking in at various Chili's throughout the Tampa Bay area for the Chili's Live Tour. Each stop will include enter to win contests, Thunderbug, and The Lightning girls. If you have never been to one of these events, I would strongly recommend it. Here is the schedule:

6-16-10 Tampa; 2903 N. Dale Mabry

6-23-10 Pinellas Park; 7250 U.S. 19 N

6-30-10 Lakeland; 3750 Lakeside Village Ct.

7-7-10 Clearwater; 25987 U.S. 19 N

8-11-10 New Tampa; 17643 Bruce B. Downs

8-18-10 Lakewood Ranch; 6125 Exchange Way

8-25-10 Odessa 16420; State Road 54

9-1-10 Brandon 1949; West Brandon Blvd

Email Mike: [email protected] | Twitter: @mcorcoran81

For the Tampa Bay Lightning, the future begins now. Over the course of the next two and a half weeks, the Lightning will embark on rebuilding the on ice product through the NHL entry draft and unrestricted free ageny, which begins July 1st. With the press conferences out of the way, it's time to see what Steve Yzerman can do as a General Manager in the National Hockey League.

Over the course of the next several days, we will look at a separate challenge the Lightning has facing them, as well as what some of their options may be — a state of the Lightning, if you will.

When Mr Yzerman was introduced to the media, I asked what he thought the biggest need was for the team moving forward; he answered that the team needs second NHL goalie on the roster to go along with Mike Smith. Not exactly a vote of confidence for Kari Ramo, Dustin Tokarski or Jaroslav Janus . So that leaves us with exploring what is available through trade or unrestricted free agency. When looking at trade options, the first place you have to go is to Montreal, where both Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak are both restricted free agents and looking for a big payday. It is rumored out of Montreal that one of these goalies could be had, for the right price. Another, more unrealistic option is to look at unrestricted free agency. The big name out there is Evgeni Nabakov. Due to the current cap constraints of the team, this is really a non-option, as what he would get if he were to hit the open market would be a lot more then the team is able to spend.

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