Most likely to Succeed is our newest series which points out one player from every team and explains why that player is poised to increase their point totals. While some teams may have more than one player likely to breakout and some none, we will focus on the ones who actually should improve with a full healthy season. File this article under a sleeper-type but sleepers would not be called that if people saw them coming.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will enter the season with a new coach, a new general manager and a new identity. With an excellent blend of veteran depth and promising young players, their one goal will be to make it back to the playoffs and take it from there.
A restructuring simply needed to happen as the intensely top-heavy scoring and porous defense was not getting the job done. Instead of one big line there will likely be two solid scoring waves since the team acquired perennial scoring threat Simon Gagne. If he did not get injured last season he probably would have finished with around 25 goals and 60 points instead of a lowly 40. Coupled with his French Canadien connection with superstars Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, we think Gagne will fit right in.
Over his career he has followed off years with strong campaigns. His team will need every bit of that as they move forward into becoming a contender under Steve Yzerman.