Alex Tanguay to Tampa Bay Lightning? Looking highly likely.

Longtime Bolt Vincent Lecavalier, above, reacts upon hearing of the Tanguay acquisition.
Barring the highly unlikely failure of a team physical early next week, it would appear Tampa Bay has scooped the league by signing left wing Alex Tanguay and his 580 career points to a one-year deal with the Lightning. Sorry, Panthers fans: no Easter Bunny this year.

We're not going to beat up on the Bolts for the many and fun missteps they may have committed in the past 15 months. This is certainly not another misstep. In fact, it makes them appear quite levelheaded: Tanguay's no fool. Right? He must see something positive among the flotsam and jetsam.

The propagation of a modern-day "French Connection" line is an exciting prospect; indeed, who can resist the temptation to Think Big when imagining a first-line trio of Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier, and Alex Tanguay (1,734 combined career points)? Forget your loyalties: this is something every hockey fan will enjoy following.

News of Tanguay's signing reached the streets of Sunrise early Saturday.

Many Cat fans are, of course, up in arms over what some see as a failure by management to properly "sell" the team to an in-demand free-agent, others view it as a negative hangover from the  *endless*  pending sale of the organization, and still more find it to be simply more of the same from a club which will never do the "right thing" (read: $pend) to build a winner. Did he not even peek at the new wing in Coral Springs???

A quick look at comments posted to Facebook this morning testify to the anger among the base, whether justified or not:

  • "Cohen handcuffs the GMs and doesn't allow them to go after players. This isn't just about the sale of the team, this has been going on for a damn decade."
  • "...this is further proof that Cohen has handcuffed this team yet again."
  • "I am frustrated beyond belief. I am really starting to believe that Cohen doesnt want to put any quality on the ice. This is complete bull."
  • "This franchise would be better run by Leonard Cohen than by Alan Cohen."/
And perhaps the best sarcastic rebuttal to all the negativity:
  • "...what about Matthias/Kreps/Taffe line.. That will counter, NO?"/

I'm still of the mindset that Florida is content with their current roster and only a bit of tweaking will be necessary to compete in the division. Whether that means giving the Matthias' and Repik's of the Rochester scene their day to shine, or looting a club who is over the salary cap during training camp, or even yet signing a UFA.

Getting back to the Tanguay thing, the guy is a left wing, who will make a salary reported to be in the $2M range.

Among current Florida left wings, David Booth ($4.25M), Cory Stillman (3.53), Rostislav Olesz (3.13), and Kenndal McArdle (0.85) are the top four on the depth chart (by dollars). Jeff Taffe should probably be included as well (0.55). No one will debate the usefulness of a Tanguay-type, but from a strictly contract-conscious position, who do you bump? Olesz to the fourth line? What NHL club would pay a 4th liner - ANY fourth liner - over three million balloons until 2014? Might be a bargain in the final year, but not even ridiculously ballpark close now.

Just going to have to face the music: improvement must surface from within. For now.

Related: Raw Charge.

Should the Panthers have pushed harder for Tanguay (leave your solution in the comments)?

Yes...he is just the right style of player for Coach Deboer's system32
No...recent (cheaper) acquisitions should be given a chance11