Filppula had spent his entire career with the Red Wings -- a team Yzerman knows well, of course -- before joining the Lightning as a free agent. The 29- year-old native of Finland had a career year with 23 goals and 66 points for Detroit in 2011-12, but had just nine goals and eight assists in 41 games last season.
If he plays like he did two years ago, Filppula will be a fine replacement for Lecavalier, but if he has a repeat of 2013 it could seriously deplete Tampa Bay's secondary scoring.
Drouin could fit on either the second or third lines and Tampa hopes his offensive skill set can at least help improve the Lightning's power play. Tampa Bay was 13th in the league in 2013 with a respectable 19 percent success rate on the man advantage, but with the club's defensive liabilities it needs to be better than that.
In addition to losing Lecavalier, the club heads into this season without forwards Cory Conacher and Benoit Pouliot, who had 24 and 20 points, respectively, for the Bolts in 2013. The Lightning traded Conacher to Ottawa for goaltender Ben Bishop during last season's trade deadline, while Pouliot left over the summer to sign with the New York Rangers.
In light of the losses on offense, the Lightning will need guys like Teddy Purcell, Alex Killorn and Nate Thompson to provide scoring depth. Purcell had the best season of that trio in 2013, finishing third on the team behind St. Louis and Stamkos with 36 points on 11 goals and 25 assists.
DEFENSE - All told, the Lightning used 13 different defenseman during the 2013 season, but the club finally settled on a consistent six-man rotation towards the end of the season.
Tampa Bay expects to go with Eric Brewer, Matt Carle, Victor Hedman and Sami Salo as it's top-four guys with Radko Gudas and Keith Aulie providing depth on the third pairing.
Hedman and Carle form a solid top pairing, although the Lightning are hoping the former player is ready to take a big step forward in 2013-14. The second overall pick of the 2009 draft, Hedman has improved steadily since his rookie campaign of 2009-10 and the 6-foot-6 Swede had four goals and 16 assists in 44 games last season.
While Hedman is certainly capable of scoring, Carle provides even more in the offensive department. He led all Tampa Bay blueliners in both goals (5) and assists (17) last season after signing a six-year, $33 million deal with the Lightning in the summer of 2012.
Brewer and Salo are steady veterans who are both entering their 15th seasons in the NHL. Brewer had four goals and eight assists while playing in all 48 games for the Bolts in 2013, while Salo had 17 points (2G, 15A) in 46 outings.
Gudas earned a spot for himself late last season by throwing his weight around. The heavy hitter also added two goals and three assists in a 22-game run as a rookie. Aulie had two goals and five assists in 45 games for Tampa Bay in 2013.
Cooper knows the club's struggles in its own zone last season can't be placed entirely on his D-men and that's why he's placed an emphasis on team defense at training camp this fall. A better back-checking effort from his forwards could do the trick, although the deeper issue with keeping the puck out of the net may be tied to the club's shoddy goaltending situation.
GOALTENDING - Yzerman sold high on Conacher during his surprising rookie season, but Bishop hardly seemed to be the answer between the pipes in his brief run with Tampa Bay in 2013, when he was 3-4-1 with a 2.99 goals against average in three outings.
It wasn't the first time Yzerman tried to improve the goaltending situation via a trade, as he also acquired Anders Lindback, Pekka Rinne's former backup in Nashville, in the summer of 2012.
Lindback struggled to a 10-10-1 record and a 2.90 GAA in 24 games last season, prompting Yzerman to try his luck with the trade for Bishop.
This year the plan is for Bishop and Lindback to split the starting duties early on with the hope one of the guys sets himself apart as the clear No. 1. If neither netminder is up to the task, Cedrick Desjardins, who was 0-3-0 with a 3.00 GAA in three outings for the Bolts last year, could work his way into the rotation.
WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE - The Lightning are an exciting team to watch, but the club's high-powered offensive attack may need to dial it back a little in 2013-14 in order to comply with Cooper's new system. That doesn't mean he'll put a leash on Stamkos or St. Louis, but the rest of the forwards will be asked to chip in more at the back end. The slightest improvement on defense and in goal could be the difference in making the playoffs this season. Then again, treading water will likely mean a third straight season out of the postseason.