BJ Crombeen, excited about new opportunity in Tampa Bay, adds element of toughness to Lightning
BJ Crombeen should pack some punch for the Tampa Bay Lightning this season.
The winger, acquired along with a fifth-round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft on Tuesday from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Tampa Bay’s fourth-round selections in both the 2013 and 2014 NHL Entry Drafts, tied for sixth in the NHL two seasons ago with 17 fighting majors.
It is a significant assessment considering the Lightning, collectively as a team, recorded just 23 fighting majors all of last season according to the web site hockeyfights.com, and since the departure of gritty forward Steve Downie in February, has been perceived by outsiders as a team that lack toughness, which the addition of Crombeen immediately brings.
“I think it’s going to be a good fit,” Crombeen said. “It’s no secret that I bring a physical element to the game, so I’m looking forward to contributing and providing the Lightning with what I do.”
According to Crombeen, 27, what he does extends beyond just merely fighting.
In addition to showing a willingness to drop the gloves, Crombeen fills the need of a tough guy without sacrificing skill and ability.
He served as an effective penalty killer with the Blues, with whom he ranked in the top four among team forwards for average shorthanded time on ice per game in two of the past three seasons, while also excelling as a solid checking-line winger who contributed to the team’s secondary scoring as a bottom-six forward.
“There’s a lot more that I bring than just muscle,” he added. “I really take pride in the defensive side of the game, I’ve shown in the past that I can contribute offensively, and then obviously there is the physical aspect, so I try to play the game the proper way and constantly look to be a responsible two-way player.”
After missing 42 games last season though, Crombeen is also looking forward to a fresh start.
He admitted that he wasn’t expecting the phone call from Blues general manager Doug Armstrong informing him of the trade, but said he understands how the business works, and that after the initial sense of shock subsided, nothing but excitement of joining the Lightning organization soon set in.
“This is a great new opportunity for me,” Crombeen said. “All the people I’ve talked to that have played in Tampa Bay all have good things to say, so I’m really excited.”