Tampa Bay Lightning
The lesson: Trust the process
Again, this lesson might seem contradictory to the last one, but I’d argue it’s not. When Tampa followed up one of the greatest regular seasons in NHL history by getting swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round, there were questions as to whether this team was fundamentally broken.
Tampa’s management had an opportunity to blow up the team, but they largely stayed the course. While Vegas has been known for their wheeling-and-dealing, Tampa has kept 14 of the 19 players who saw action in the Game 4 loss to Columbus. The Lightning’s patience was rewarded as they won the Stanley Cup the next season and have every chance to defend their title this year.
While Tampa proved patience can pay off, they didn’t sit of their hands either. Between the 2019 and 2020 playoffs, Tampa added Pat Maroon, Blake Coleman, and Barclay Goodrow. All three played a big role in last year’s championship season and have continued their impact this season.
This is worth keeping in mind for when Ottawa reaches the next level and, hopefully, becomes a staple of the playoffs for years to come. The Sens are going to lose their fair share of playoff series, some in heartbreaking fashion. The important thing is going to be not to overreact, but to make carefully calculated moves to fill the holes in the roster.