BOSTON (CBS) – Brace yourselves. You are about to read a very unpopular opinion about the Boston Bruins from a national writer.
Adam Proteau, a columnist from The Hockey News, believes the Tampa Bay Lightning are the most dangerous team in the Eastern Conference.
Tampa Bay finished third in the East last season with 101 points, this despite trading away Martin St. Louis and spending the majority of the season without Steven Stamkos. Meanwhile, the Bruins ended the season with the NHL’s best record and earned the Presidents’ Trophy for accomplishing that.
Both teams were bounced in the playoffs by Montreal — Tampa via the sweep in round one and Boston in seven games in round two.
Proteau points to the acquisitions made by Tampa Bay and general manager Steve Yzerman this offseason as a reason for his assessment.
“If you look one through six, Tampa probably has the best defense core in the East. Jason Garrison is not an all-around, Bobby Orr-type defenseman, but he’s going to make a great offensive power play specialist. Anton Stralman has made a name for himself as a positional player and Victor Hedman was a real underrated story for them last year. I really like their depth.”
Proteau also noted that the Bolts will have Stamkos back for the full year and have the right combination of speed, youth and grit to compete with the Bruins.
“I think it’s not that huge of a gap between Boston and Tampa Bay. You can’t sleep on the Lightning. They’re well-coached, their owner will spend to the limit and to be honest I think they have the best overall player in Steven Stamkos.”
The Lightning could find themselves in a salary-cap-crunch situation next year, similar to the one the Bruins are in now, because goaltender Ben Bishop is going to get paid when he becomes a free agent next summer.
However for this upcoming year anyway, Proteau remains firm that the Lightning can be just as good, if not better than the B’s.
Listen below for the full discussion: