Tampa Bay Lightning Win Stanley Cup, What’s Next?
The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Dallas Stars 2-0 on Monday night in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. This is the second time in franchise history that Tampa Bay won the Stanley Cup. The last time they did it was in 2004 in seven games against the Calgary Flames.
This Stanley Cup Title comes one year later after they were embarrassed and swept in the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
This was a sweet revenge story like when the University of Virginia Men;s Basketball Team lost to UMBC in 2018 but then won it all against Texas Tech the next season though.
Andrei Vasilevskiy recorded a 22-save shutout for the Tampa Bay Lightning and this was his first shutout of the postseason though.
Anton Khudobin recorded 27 saves for the Dallas Stars.
Victor Hedman won the Conn Smythe Trophy (Playoff MVP).
He scored 10 goals and recorded 12 assists in 25 games. Hedman’s plus/minus was 13.
He is one of the best defenseman in the NHL. Victor Hedman was a finalist for the Norris Trophy and so was John Carlson of the Washington Capitals though. However, Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators won that award.
Hedman also logged a lot of minutes on the blueline and he also scored the game-winning goal in Game 5 against the Boston Bruins in double overtime though.
A lot of people thought that Brayden Point was robbed. Point played in 23 games. He scored 14 goals and recorded 19 assists. His plus/minus was 12. Brayden Point might have been the best player on the ice all postseason long for Tampa Bay.
He scored two-game winning goals in the postseason, including the five overtime game in Game 1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Game 5 against the Columbus Blue Jackets though.
Nikita Kucherov played in 25 games. He scored seven goals and recorded 27 assists. His plus/minus was 15.
Steven Stamkos only played in one game that was in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals. He scored a goal in that game and only played in 2:47 of icetime.
Stamkos is the heartbeat and the heart and soul of this hockey team. He is one of the most talented players in the league when he is healthy.
Andrei Vasilevskiy played in all 25 games. Curtis McElhinney didn’t see one minute of ice time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs though.
Vasilevskiy’s record was 18-7 with a .927 save percentage and a 1.90 GAA, along with one shutout.
Anthony Cirielli had the game-winning goal against the New York Islanders in overtime in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
This team started the postseason in Toronto, Ontario, at the Scotiabank Arena though.
This team has a chance to potentially repeat next season and it isn’t going to be an 82-game season. It will most likely be a 50-game season though.
A few teams that have a chance to win it all next season other than the Tampa Bay Lightning are the Colorado Avalanche, the Vancouver Canucks, the Dallas Stars, the St. Louis Blues, the Boston Bruins, the Washington Capitals, the Philadelphia Flyers, and the Pittsburgh Penguins though.
What could be next for the Tampa Bay Lightning? A lot of key players are back next season. Barclay Goodrow, Blake Coleman, and Cedric Paquette will be unrestricted free agents, but they could all be re-signed. The only that may not be resigned is goaltender Curtis McElhinney. They may find a different backup goalie though.
Julien BriseBois, the current general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning, deserves a ton of credit for this. Detroit Red Wings General Manager Steve Yzerman deserves some credit as well because he was the general manager in Tampa Bay from 2010 to 2018 though.
Owner Jeffrey Vinik also deserves some credit and he was on a video call with the team in Edmonton, Alberta, at the Rogers Centre though.
Steven Stamkos handed the Stanley Cup to Victor Hedman first.
Stamkos could potentially retire at the age of 30 due to injury history. His contract isn’t up until after the 2023-2024 season and is owed $8.5 million for the next four seasons though.
This team could go back-to-back, but it will be extremely hard and difficult to do so though. Tampa Bay will look to be the first team since the 2016 and the 2017 Pittsburgh Penguins to go back-to-back though.
What do you think of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s chances to repeat as the Stanley Cup Champions next season? Leave a comment below.
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Follow Glenn Kaplan on Twitter @glennkaplan13.