Friday, September 28, 2018

Tampa Bay Lightning 2018-19 season preview



           In what ended up as one of the best regular seasons in team history, the Tampa Bay Lightning ended up going to the third round of the playoffs, but fell to the Washington Capitals. They followed that up by not doing anything in the offseason. Before we look at their team, here's some fast facts for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Head Coach: Jon Cooper
General Manager: Julien BriseBois
Arena: Amalie Arena
AHL Affiliate: Syracuse Crunch
2017-18 record: 54-23-5 (113 points)
2017-18 placement: 1st
Division: Atlantic
2017-18 goals leader: Nikita Kucherov (39)
2017-18 assists leader: Nikita Kucherov (61)
2017-18 points leader: Nikita Kucherov (100)
2017-18 points leader (defensemen): Victor Hedman (63)
Captain: Steven Stamkos
Assistant Captains: Ondrej Palat, Ryan Callahan
2018 first round pick: None, picked Gabriel Fortier 59th overall

Offseason additions: Andy Andreoff

Offseason subtractions: Chris Kunitz, Andrej Sustr, Matthew Peca, Peter Budaj

Forwards: Nikita Kucherov broke out in 2017-18, showing that he is a superstar. He and Steven Stamkos combined for 186 points on the top line. Brayden Point also broke out, showing he could be a second line center. Yanni Gourde scored an impressive 25 goals as a rookie. JT Miller returns, after being nearly a point per game player after a trade from New York. Anthony Cirelli makes his rookie season, after an impressive 18 games last year.

Forward lines:

Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov
JT Miller - Brayden Point - Tyler Johnson
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Yanni Gourde
Adam Erne - Cedric Paquette - Andy Andreoff
Other: Cory Conacher
Injured: Ryan Callahan

Defensemen: Victor Hedman is coming off a Norris winning season. He's also got Anton Stralman and Ryan McDonagh with him. Mikhail Sergachev is looking to avoid a sophomore slump. With vets Dan Girardi and Braydon Coburn on the bottom pair, this is one good core.

Defensive pairs:

Victor Hedman - Mikhail Sergachev
Ryan McDonagh - Anton Stralman
Dan Girardi - Braydon Coburn
Other: Slater Koekkoek

Goalies: Andrei Vasilevskiy had an amazing 2017-18 season. The Lightning believe in Louis Domingue to be his backup.

Goalie alignment:

Andrei Vasilevskiy
Louis Domingue


Predictions:

Top five scorers:

Nikita Kucherov
Steven Stamkos
Ondrej Palat
Victor Hedman
JT Miller

Playoffs: Yes
Division: 1st

I think the Tampa Bay Lightning will be eliminated in the Stanley Cup finals.

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