The Starting Six series comes to you to dive into the best player at each position all-time for every organization. The biggest and best at each position, with the most memorable moments in franchise history. Here is the Tampa Bay Lightning all-time lineup.
Starting Six: Tampa Bay Lightning All-Time Lineup
The Tampa Bay Lightning entered the league back in 1992 and have won the Stanley Cup once in the 2003-04 season. They most recently made the Conference Finals in the 2014-15 season and have built a strong franchise to compete over the years. Over their history they have had some talented players, some of which will end up in the Hall of Fame and one whom has had their number raised to the rafters.
Center: Vincent Lecavalier (1998-2004, 2005-13)
Lecavalier was drafted first overall in 1998 and was the face of this franchise for over a decade. He is the only Lightning player to have suited up in over 1,000 games, playing in 1,036 for the Bolts. He ranks first in team history with 383 goals, second in assists (491) and second in points (874). He had eight seasons with over 25 goals and his best year came in the 2006-07 season where he tallied 52 goals and 108 points.
Along with all his impressive stats, Lecavalier also won two individual awards while with the Lightning. He won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy in 2006-07 with his 52 goals and also won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 2007-08.
His final season with the Lightning was in 2012-13 where he played in 39 games, putting up a respectable 32 points. Lecavalier is bound for the Hall of Fame and in the near future will have his number enshrined forever in Amalie Arena.
Right Wing: Martin St. Louis (2000-04, 2005-14)
If you’re wondering how successful an undrafted player can be in the NHL, look no further than St. Louis. He ranks first in team history with 953 points over 972 games. The 2006-07 season was equally as impressive for St. Louis as it was Lecavalier. That campaign he tallied 102 points with 43 goals. He is also regarded as one of the best players to step it up in the playoffs. In 63 career playoff games for Tampa Bay he scored 33 goals and registered 68 points, good for first in both categories in Lightning playoff history.
His final season in Florida came in 2013-14 when he scored 29 goals and had 32 assists in just 62 games. His number 26 is now retired by the Lightning and the call from the hall will shortly be on its way as well.
Left Wing: Ondrej Palat (2012 – Present)
Palat was drafted 208th overall by Tampa Bay in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and has been a top six forward and key component to this team’s success, in the past and for the foreseeable future.
He has put up 218 points in 307 games and will look to crack the 100-goal plateau in the near future, currently sitting on 74. His 218 points are only 35 off Dan Boyle for 10th all-time in Tampa Bay history. Judging off his career to this point, that is something that could easily be achieved in 2017-18. His 74 goals are also only 18 way from 10th-placed Ryan Malone, another achievable milestone for the near future.
His only 20 goal season, so far, came back in 2013-14 where he tallied 59 points. Palat makes this list for his clutch play as well. He already has 16 game-winning goals on his resume, which averages out to one every nineteen games. Those 16 game-winning goals trail only seven players in Lightning history.
Defensman: Victor Hedman (2009 – Present)
Another current player on the Tampa Bay Lightning all-time lineup, Hedman has been one of the leagues top ten blue liners in recent years. Drafted second overall by Tampa Bay in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, he has been the definition of top line pairing defenseman since joining the franchise.
Hedman already ranks sixth in team history with 301 points and currently sits at sixth in games played for the Lighting (549), only three behind Brad Richards. He is also sixth all-time in assists (236), only being eight shy of fifth-placed Vinny Prospal.
Last season he put up 72 points, ranking second behind Brent Burns for defensman. In those 72 points were five game-winning goals and 33 on the powerplay.
Defensman: Pavel Kubina (1997-2004, 2005-06, 2010-12)
Drafted 179th in 1996, Kubina was a key piece in the Lightning blue line for a combined decade, split over three stints in a Lightning sweater. He played in 662 games for the Bolts, which currently ranks third in team history. In his tenure with the team he had four seasons with 30-plus points, and at the latter stage of his career became a locker room leader and mentor that young stars like Hedman and Steven Stamkos could look up to.
Kubina currently sits ninth in all-time assists (171), eighth in powerplay goals (33), tied-sixth in shorthanded goals (five), tied-sixth in game-winning goals (18), and fifth in shots (1,153) in Lightning history.
Goalie: Ben Bishop (2012-17)
Bishop was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, 85th overall. The Blues were not the team where he found his success though, that team was the Lightning. In 227 games with Tampa Bay he posted a respectable .921 save percentage and 2.28 goals-against-average with 131 wins, seventeen as shutouts.
His 227 games played are the most ever by a Lightning netminder. Along with that he is the all-time leader in wins, first in shots against (6,222), first in saves (5,728), and first in save percentage, first in goals-against-average.
Bishop’s best campaign came in the 2014-15 season where he won 40 games and earned a Vezina Trophy nomination. Bishop was traded to the Los Angeles Kings last season, but will be remembered fondly for his strong play in four and a half seasons with the Bolts.