Tampa Bay Lightning: Striking into Training Camp

The Tampa Bay Lightning were the best team in the NHL last season. A lot of people expected them to win the Stanley Cup Title last season. However, the Columbus Blue Jackets swept them in the first round of the playoffs. Tampa Bay made some adjustments to the roster in the offseason, but it was nothing major.

J.T. Miller was traded to the Vancouver Canucks. They also signed Patrick Maroon to a one-year deal the other day. The Lightning has the talent to win another Stanley Cup Title. They also got rid of Dan Girardi on the back end as well. Ryan Callahan was also traded to the Ottawa Senators.

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Tampa Bay has not won it all since 2004. They stole the headlines in the first round of the NHL postseason last year. They also hope something doesn’t happen like that again in the postseason.

The Pittsburgh Penguins got swept to the New York Islanders in the first round and Pittsburgh would have been the talk of the NHL if the Tampa Bay Lightning were not bounced in the first round. It will be interesting to see how Tampa Bay bounces back this season after a catastrophic collapse in the postseason.

The Lightning will probably be the favorites to win the Atlantic Division again, but the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs challenge Tampa Bay for the division title. The Florida Panthers are also ready to turn the corner this season as well. The Montreal Canadiens will also be a very good team this season. The Detroit Red Wings, the Buffalo Sabres, and the Ottawa Senators are by far the three worst teams in the Atlantic Division.

The projected lines for Tampa Bay this season will be Ondrej PalatSteven StamkosNikita Kucherov, Yanni GourdeBrayden PointTyler Johnson, Alex KillornAnthony CirelliMathieu Joseph, and Danick MartelCedric Paquette-Patrick Maroon.

The projected defensive pairings will be Victor Hedman and Kevin Shattenkirk, Ryan McDonagh and Erik Cernak, and Braydon Coburn and Mikhail Sergachev.

Andrei Vasilevskiy will be the starting goalie. Curtis McElhinney will be the backup.

Some of the potential players that could step up in case of injuries will be Jan Rutta, Luke Schenn, Luke Witkowski, Mitchell Stephens, and Louis Domingue.

They do not have enough depth at the forward position even though they have one of the best players in the NHL in Nikita Kucherov. Steven Stamkos is also one of the best centers in the NHL.

Brayden Point had a break out year last season that nobody saw coming. He played in 79 games and Point scored 41 goals and recorded 51 assists. His plus/minus was 27.

At the moment, he is currently a restricted free agent and Brayden Point isn’t signed to a contract. He is 23 years old and Tampa Bay needs to keep him around some way, somehow because of his potential.

Head Coach Jon Cooper will need to keep his guys focused during the season.

The Lightning has yet to announce a training camp date. They will begin preseason against the Carolina Hurricanes at home on Monday, September 16.

Tampa Bay will begin the season at home against the Florida Panthers on Thursday, October 3.

How do you see the 2019 season of the Tampa Bay Lightning? Leave a comment.

Ice the puck on over to IroniqMedia for all of your NHL coverage.

Follow Glenn on Twitter @glennkaplan13.

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