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Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk awaits call from the Hall of Fame

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To appreciate the Leader, you have to remember the leaderless lot that was the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In those days, it was an aimless, clueless bunch. There were those who suggested the Lightning might be the worst franchise in all professional sports, one of those teams that looked to teenagers to lead.

Then came Dave Andreychuk, who had been quite the player himself.

Andreychuk was an important figure in the history of the Lightning, the man who made it possible for John Tortorella and Vinny Lecavalier to coexist. He was crucial as the Bolts turned it around, as Marty St. Louis and Brad Richards and Dan Boyle became great players, as the Lightning turned into a great franchise. It was Andreychuk who set the tone, established the standards.

Now, it should be Andreychuk’s turn again. Once again, he is up for the Hall of Fame. He has been since 2009.

You might think his selection would be automatic. He has the most power play goals in history. He’s 14th overall. But the years go on, and the Leader has not been invited.

Perhaps he will be this year.

It’s about time.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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