Regular Season: Despite tremendous seasons from Martin St. Louis (Art Ross Trophy) and Steven Stamkos (second in both points and goals), the Tampa Bay Lightning failed to excel, and even in the weakest division in the NHL, they couldn’t muster any traction, and finished 14th in the Eastern Conference.
Playoffs: Post-season was a pipe dream, as they missed the playoffs by 15 points.
In: F Valtteri Filppula
Ready To Make The Jump: F Jonathan Drouin
BIG 3 FACTORS
1. The Puck Stops Where?: Offense wasn’t the Lightning’s problem last season (or the season before), but keeping the puck out of their own net definitely was. Ben Bishop and Anders Lindback are both towering goalies with solid potential, but neither one of them took the bull by the horns last season. Bishop came in and allowed .54 more goals per game than he had in Ottawa.
2. Blue Line Blunders: The Lightning didn’t change much, if anything on the blue line, and that unit needs to vastly improve their play if the club is going to make any headway in clawing their way up the standings.
3. Drouin over Jones: The Lightning passed on Seth Jones, who could immediately step in and make a difference on the blue line, in favor of the exciting offensive presence of Drouin. If Jones makes an impact in Nashville right off the bat, Lightning fans might start second guessing Steve Yzerman‘s selection and decision to forego the much needed defensive help for more offensive flash. In the long term it was probably the right selection, but offense isn’t the Bolts’ biggest current need.
PROGNOSIS: The move from the Southeast to the Atlantic will not make things any easier, as they are moving from 2nd last place in a division that had 1 playoff team, to a division that had 5 playoff teams from 2013. If either Bishop or Lindback does not develop into a legit starter, the Lightning might be in for another exciting season, but not necessarily a successful one.
PREDICTION: 6th Atlantic Division.
We will be previewing every NHL team ahead of Training Camp which for most teams will begin on Sept 11th. As a twist, we will be unveiling our teams in reverse order to how I predict they will finish in the standings. Here is the schedule (you can click on a team name to see the preview for that team):
|1||Sept 9||Sept 8||Sept 7||Sept 6|
|2||Sept 5||Sept 4||Sept 3||Sept 2|
|3||Sept 1||Aug 31||Aug 30||Aug 29|
|4||Aug 28||Aug 27||Aug 26||Aug 25|
|5||Aug 24||Aug 23||Aug 22||Aug 21|