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.