NHL Season Recap – Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning

2016-17 season: 42-30-10, 94 points

Did not qualify for playoffs

Head Coach: Steve Yzerman (2010)
5th place Atlantic Division General Manager: Jon Cooper (2013)
10th Place Eastern Conference AHL Affiliate: Syracuse Crunch

ECHL Affiliate: Kalamazoo Wings

Draft Position: Will have the 14th  greatest odds in the NHL Draft Lottery

Top Forwards

POS Age Name GP Points Goals Assists +/- CF%
RW 23 Nikita Kucherov 74 85 40 45 13 55.7
LW 21 Jonathan Drouin 73 53 21 32 -13 52.7
LW 25 Ondrej Palat 75 52 17 35 8 53.1
C 26 Tyler Johnson 66 45 19 26 -5 50.2
C 20 Brayden Point 68 40 18 22 4 52.4
LW 27 Alex Killorn 81 36 19 17 -9 51.4
C 32 Valtteri Filppula 59 34 7 27 1 49.9
C 24 Valdislav Namestnikov 74 28 10 18 -4 53.0
C 32 Brian Boyle 54 22 13 9 5 53.7
C 26 Steven Stamkos 17 20 9 11 3 56.7

Top Defensemen

POS Age Name GP Points Goals Assists +/- CF%
D 26 Victor Hedman 79 72 16 56 3 53.4
D 30 Anton Stralman 73 22 5 17 1 50.6
D 26 Andrej Sustr 80 14 3 11 -10 49.0
D 31 Braydon Coburn 80 12 6 7 -1 50.6
D 23 Nikita Nesterov 35 12 3 9 -3 54.1

Top Goaltenders

POS Age Name Games Started W/L Record Shutouts GAA Save %
G 22 Andrei Vasilevskiy 47 23-17-7 2 2.61 .917
G 30 Ben Bishop 31 16-12-3 1 2.55 .911
G 34 Peter Budaj 4 3-1-0 0 2.80 .898

Trades Made During the Season

What They Acquired Team They Traded With In Exchange For
2018 4th RD Pick Pittsburgh Penguins D Mark Streit
D Mark Streit Philadelphia Flyers F Valtteri Filppula

2017 4th RD Pick

Conditional 2017 7th RD Pick

G Mike McKenna Florida Panthers G Adam Wilcox
F Byron Froese

2017 2nd RD Pick

Toronto Maple Leafs F Brian Boyle
G Peter Budaj

D Erik Cernak

2017 7th RD Pick

Conditional 2017 Pick

Los Angeles Kings G Ben Bishop

2017 5th RD Pick

D Jonathan Racine

2017 6th RD Pick

Ottawa Senators F Marc Hagel

Impending Free Agents

POS Age Name 2016-17 Cap Hit
C 24 Greg McKegg $700,000
RW 24 Stefan Fournier $632,500
C 24 Yanni Gourde $600,000
G 34 Peter Budaj $600,000
C 25 Joel Vermin $575,000
C 26 Gabriel Dumont $575,000
D 27 Luke WItkowski $575,000
LW 25 Mike Halmo $575,000
D 30 Matthew Taormina $575,000
G 34 Mike McKenna $575,000
LW 31 Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond $575,000
C 27 Cory Conacher $575,000

Draft Needs

  • The Lightning have seven picks in the upcoming draft, including two in the second round. They are set up pretty well at forward considering they have one of  the best young offensive cores in hockey and don’t really need to add to that in the draft.  Where they need help at is on the blueline, where they struggled behind the first two pairings.  They do have some help in the minors who should be getting called up in the next couple of seasons.  However, they will need to replenish those prospects with more young talent and I think that is an area they address in this draft.

What I Said About Them Before the Season

  • I projected that the Lightning would be a favorite to win the Eastern Conference and I actually picked them to win the Stanley Cup in my preseason predictions.  Beyond that, I spent a majority of my preseason piece covering the player personnel moves GM Steve Yzerman made to extend his players.  I am just one in a long line of people who have praised him for the amazing job he has done navigating the salary cap.

Success/Failure

  • Failure – The Lightning may have been the team picked by most hockey writers to win the Stanley Cup, or at least the Eastern Conference.  This didn’t come true largely as a result of the injuries the roster faced.  The biggest injury was dealt to captain Steven Stamkos who missed significant playing time for the second time in his career.  Limited to just 17 games this season, Stamkos once again experienced a serious injury that could have long-term career repercussions.  The question now has to be raised as to how Stamkos’ career progresses from here and if he can stay healthy enough to even defend the contract the Lightning signed him to. In addition to Stamkos’ injury, Tyler Johnson, Cedric Paquette, and Ryan Callahan all missed time to injury.  Had these injuries not occurred this season, I feel completely confident that they would have been a playoff team considering they still just barely missed out.  Head coach Jon Cooper did an excellent job working with what he could and turning a bad situation into as good of one as possible.  GM Steve Yzerman continued his dominant ways in the front office by selling off as many assets as he could at the trade deadline.  He was able to move Valtteri Filppula to Philadelphia for Mark Streit in a great move for the Lightning as Filppula has a no-movement clause and would have caused problems for the team at the Expansion Draft.  It also freed up $5 million in cap space for next season, something Yzerman will need to re-sign players this offseason.  He was then able to flip Streit to the Penguins for a 4th round pick, nothing of great value but it recouped one of the picks they sent with Filppula to Philadelphia. He was also able to send goaltender Ben Bishop and his expiring contract to the Kings for Peter Budaj, who was able to back up Andrei Vasilevskiy, and defensive prospect Erik Cernak. Finally, Yzerman traded veteran Brian Boyle to Toronto for a 2nd round pick which was smart considering Boyle wasn’t going to serve a purpose anymore for the Lightning and was great with Toronto.

Offseason Needs

  • Similar to last season, Yzerman is going to need to make serious personnel decisions this offseason involving free agents.  Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Jonathan Drouin are all forwards with expiring contracts and Andrej Sustr is free agent on the blueline.  I’m not confident that the will re-sign both Johnson and Palat and will probably choose to move forward with just one of them.  The Lightning do have over $17 million in projected cap space for next season which should be plenty of money to get these moves done but none of their free agents will be cheap.  Yzerman can also start working on extensions for Cedric Paquette, J.T. Brown, and Vladislav Namestnikov this July which is something the Lightning will have to think about. Tampa also needs to make a decision regarding a back up goaltender for next season as Andrei Vasilevskiy is the only NHL goaltender on their roster after this season.  I think that it would be smart for them to work on re-signing Peter Budaj who was excellent this season with the Kings and Lightning in his first season back in the NHL.  Finally, the team needs some help on the blueline as Jason Garrison and Braydon Coburn aren’t working in high impact roles.  Giving more playing time to Slater Koekkoek and perhaps signing a free agent defenseman would serve the Lightning better next season and insulate the goaltending.  The Lightning should return basically the same roster next season as the one that they ended 2017 with.  Any changes should be minimal and fringe moves and, assuming that Stamkos comes back healthy, they should be a favorite to win the division and conference next season.

*All stats and information came from hockey-reference.com, rosterresource.com, spotrac.com, NHL.com, hockeydb.com, capfriendly.com, tsn.ca, and eliteprospects.com*

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