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BRIAN CAZENEUVE
October 04, 2010
EASTERN CONFERENCE
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October 04, 2010

Southeast

EASTERN CONFERENCE

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34-36-12 (12th in East)

KEY ADDITIONS

D Brett Clark, LW Simon Gagne, D Pavel Kubina

KEY LOSSES

D Andrej Meszaros, G Antero Niittymaki, LW Alex Tanguay

NOBODY WAS more excited by the prospect of a fall reunion than Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier. New Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher has promised that his captain, a former NHL goal-scoring champ, will see more time this season with Martin St. Louis, the winger with whom Lecavalier (below) had the best seasons of his career—both players topped the 100-point mark in 2006--07. When St. Louis joined center Steven Stamkos's line for most of last season, the switch did wonders for Stamkos, who poured in 51 goals, a 28-goal jump from his rookie campaign the year before. Lecavalier, meanwhile, deprived of his righthand man, slumped to just 24, his lowest total since 2001--02. The Lightning ranked 23rd in the league in scoring.

To boost the attack, first-year G.M. Steve Yzerman picked up two-time 40-goal scorer Simon Gagne in a trade with the Flyers in July. He also signed defenseman Pavel Kubina, a mainstay on Tampa's Cup-winning team in '04, away from Atlanta. The G.M. talks about creating "a culture of success," saying, "It starts with your core players fulfilling their talents and bringing the rest of the team with them." Yzerman, who evolved from a sublime individual talent into a great team player, may be just the man to help Lecavalier recover his game. And that should get their team a spot in the playoffs.

ATLANTA

Thrashers

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