Updated: Oct 6
By Jake Ricker
The 2022-20223 regular season is fast approaching, but before we start getting into what players to look out for in training camp and what this upcoming season might look like, we thought it would be fun to take a look at an idea that might spark some debate.
After scrolling through my timeline one day, I came across an interesting tweet from Raw Charge that piqued my interest. The tweet was about the Lightning having a Ring of Honor and what players might receive the designation. This, of course, brought up lots of interesting questions, such as where would this Ring of Honor be located and what were the requirements to be in the Ring of Honor.
The Bolt Report then joined the fine folks at RBLR to talk more about this subject and see if we could figure out who should have their name forever kept in Lightning history. You can listen to that podcast by clicking this link
The first thing we need to do is take a look at what the requirements are for being eligible for the Ring of Honor. This is an important step as there is limited space in a Ring of Honor, and if too many players get added, it then starts to become a wall of honor. We will take a look at three specific sections in which players should meet at least two of, if not all, three. So if you really think about it, these are more like Guidelines and not rules.
The first one is time spent in Tampa. As much as we all love players like Mark Streit (who helped broker a deal with Valtteri Filppula and then was immediately sent to the Penguins), they don't exactly qualify for the Ring of Honor. Five years is enough time for players to leave some kind of legacy in Tampa and possibly qualify for some of the other parameters.
The second one is having won at least one Stanley Cup. While we all love players like Ryan Callahan, thye unfortunately never won a Stanley Cup, and there has to be some sort of cutoff with a limited number of spaces available. This also gives players like Barclay Goodrow and Blake Coleman at least a chance at a nomination as they were huge parts of helping bring a Stanley Cup to Tampa Bay.
Finally, we have our record holders, and this is not just limited to players who hold the record but also ones that are in the top 5 or 10 of a specific accomplishment. For example, while Ben Bishop never won a Stanley Cup, he does hold a franchise record, despite Vasilevskiy breaking most of them. Tyler Johnson falls into a smaller category as he ranks in the top 10 for goals amongst Lightning players.
Now that we have set some guidelines, let's take a look at some players that could be headed into a potential Ring of Honor. It should be noted as well that players such as Stamkos, Hedman, Vasilevskiy, and Kucherov will not be mentioned as they will more than likely be headed for the rafters.
Bishop has a great case to be one of the first members of the Lightning's Ring of Honor. Having played with the Lightning for five seasons (4.5 if you want to be exact), he checks off the first guideline of having an extended stay in Tampa. But more importantly, it's Bishop's impact that makes him a great candidate.
Bishop still holds the two Lightning records of career goals against average and career save percentage. He also held multiple others, such as career wins, until Vasilevskiy broke them. Bishop also helped the team reach a Stanley Cup final in 2015, but unfortunately, due to injuries, the team fell short. The Lightning had struggled to find a number one goaltender for a number of years until Bishop came along. Vasilevskiy has even said he was able to learn a lot from Bishop, so there is no denying that he made a huge impact on this franchise.
Richards is another player who made a huge impact on the Lightning franchise and could be a great choice for a Ring of Honor member. Richards spent his first seven seasons with the Lightning and wasted no time making his name known. Richards was also a huge part of the 2004 Lightning team that helped bring the franchise's first Stanley Cup. With 12 goals and 14 assists in that '04 run, he captured the first Conn Smythe Trophy in Lightning history. His 12 goals in a single playoff run (tied with Ruslan Fedotenko that same year) was a Lightning record for goals scored in a single postseason until Tyler Johnson had 13 in the 2015 postseason.
While Richards does not own any Lightning records, he is top 10 in over 20 categories listed on hockeryrefrence.com. Richards was also an alternate captain for the Lighting, not only playing a huge role on the ice but also off the ice, helping the Lightning get their first taste of sustained success.
While Alex Killorn is still playing with the Tampa Bay Lightning, he is well on his way to having one impressive resume. Entering his 11th season with the Lightning, he has won two Stanley Cups and is often one of the alternate captains of the team. Not to mention he was a huge source of entertainment for Lightning fans when the season went on pause.
Killorn is currently top 10 in games played, goals, assists, points, and plus-minus. As he continues to play, some of these numbers will only improve. Killorn has said he does not want to leave Tampa, and a player that can put up those kinds of numbers and sticks with the team through his entire career deserves a spot in the Ring of Honor.
Those are just a few players that have a case to be in the Ring of Honor. There are a lot more as well, such as Ryan MacDoughna, Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Dave Andreychuck, Nikolai Khabibulin, Fredrik Modin, Pavel Kubina, and the list goes on.
While not all of these players might not qualify to be in the Ring of Honor, there's no question they can find a suitable amount to get things started.
Of course, you need room to put these players' names, so where might something like this go? As shown in the thumbnail of this article, you could remove the second ring of video boards and put them there. This, of course, would make you lose some advertising spots but would probably be well worth it.
You could also put them on the blue walls where the 300 section numbers are. However, the issue with this location is that they would get tucked away and not seen by many. The only other reasonable thing to do would be to create a wall somewhere in the arena where these players' names could be listed.
There are a few players that we think could be put into the Ring of Honor and some guidelines to try and keep it selective. It's a fun debate to have, and if the Lightning do decide to add something like this, it would be an excellent addition to Amalie Arena.
Now we want to hear from you; let us know if you would increase guidelines or other players we might have missed by commenting on this article or on our tweet, who you think should be in the Ring of Honor.
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