Season's greetings, happy holidays and a very Merry Christmas to all Raw Charge and general NHL blog readers. What's becoming an annual rite here at Raw Charge is producing a Best of compilation to run on Christmas morning in place of Quick Strikes.
The Best of for Raw Charge is subjective - as are all best-of lists out there. There were many articles to sift through from the last calendar year and presenting the best and favorites of our work isn't guaranteed to hit all news stories or avenues we discussed in the past year.
- Syracuse Crunch weekly recap: Will the winds of change blowing through the AHL affect the Crunch? - A very big subject matter for the AHL in 2015 was the western migration of franchises from the east to California. While we know the fall-out now, it's interesting to reflect on the change early in the process.
- Is the goaltending depth chart shifting in Andrei Vasilevskiy's favor? - He was a pro rookie at the time but issues with Evgeni Nabokov were proving his value sooner rather than later for Tampa Bay at the NHL level.
- A year later, the certainty of Steven Stamkos' future -
- The business of the NHL demonstrates a culture clash - The habit of sullying a market for poor attendance while the product itself is not competitive was touched on last January.
- Of hockey events and Tampa Bay as host - With the regions prominence in hosting other events (college bowl games, the Super Bowl, conventions and such), the idea of Tampa Bay playing host to one of the NHL or IIHF's marquee events is appealing.
- Steven Stamkos talks about his future and staying in Tampa Bay - The 2015 NHL All-Star game is the backdrop for Stammer's remarks about wanting to be a Bolt and what the plan was at the time (to sign during the summer of 2015).
- A short conversation with former Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella - Coaching in a local event, John Tortorella spoke with the press afterward and touched on a few topics.
- Tyler Johnson "not a fan" of analytics, which is a good thing - A player being concerned about advanced statistics and analytics is overthinking his game.
- Igor Larionov, creativity in the NHL, and the Tampa Bay Lightning - Going outside the game plan in the NHL seems like a challenge in this league. How do the Lightning handle it?
- An open request to SportsClubStats.com: Update the Lightning logo you employ - The 2007 team crest is still used to this day as the logo of the Bolts being used by the site. Tampa Bay hasn't employed it since the end of the 2010-11 season.
- 2015 NHL Playoffs and 2015 NHL Playoff Archives - While we make a few references here to articles that ran during the playoffs, the above links cover every story that's run on Raw Charge pertaining to the Lightning's run for the Stanley Cup last spring.
- 2015 NHL playoffs: The past is said and done with new legacies minted going forward - Once the playoffs have been reached, everything you have learned during the regular season become irrelevant.
- 2015 NHL Playoffs: Lightning and Red Wings benefit from AHL experience and the 2013 Calder Cup Finals - Echoes and reverbs from the Syracuse Crunch and Grand Rapids Griffins were on display in the 1st round series between the Bolts and Wings last spring.
- 2015 NHL playoffs: A postseason dotted with Lightning alumni - Martin St. Louis, Dan Boyle, Brad Richards and others from team history - recent and distant - made the NHL's second season.
- The influence and ripples of the Martin St. Louis / Ryan Callahan trade for the Tampa Bay Lightning - An overview of the assets acquired by way of the deal that sent Marty to New York for Cally.
- 2015 NHL Playoffs: Take pride in the "non-traditional market" title, Lightning fans - How often does "non-traditional market" get used like an insult? With how the TB metro area has grown with the game, it should be worn as a badge.
- Signing Steven Stamkos priority no. 1 for the Lightning this off-season - The feat was obviously not obtained during the summer of 2015 but it's an interesting opportunity to reflect on the scope and gauge of the moment immediately after the conclusion of the 2014-15 playoffs and season.
- The hockey player's lifestyle in Tampa Bay, what's not to like? - Attention pending free agents: boy do we have a nice time to offer down here!
- Thoughts on the retirement of Martin St. Louis from the NHL - A legend in team lore ended his tenure in Tampa Bay on a very profound down note. Marty called it quits from the sport and inspired this ramble about him.
- Tampa Bay officially submits bid to host 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships - News, but pretty exciting for the region to attempt this. Ultimately Buffalo was awarded hosting duties.
- The daunting task of contending in the NHL after being a Stanley Cup finalist - Just how did other NHL teams bounce back after a run to the Stanley Cup Finals? We're seeing this play out 9the challenge) in Tampa Bay at current.
- The earned opportunity of minor league defenseman Charlie Dodero - Signed on a professional tryout to the Syracuse Crunch during the '14-15 season, Dodero didn't just fill a vacant hole for the Crunch but earned a chance with the organization.
- If only it were that simple to just sign Steven Stamkos -Impulse and impatience is not sound in business, and it started creeping in back in August.
- Starmmergeddon 2.0: A few things - Kyle Alexander hasn't been posting or participating on Raw Charge for personal and professional reasons this season. That being said, articles like this one are reasons to miss him.
- The St. Louis Blues Vladmir Tarasenko a good comparable for Nikita Kucherov - Though Tarasenko's numbers at current dwarf the production of Nikita Kucherov, Kuch's numbers are growing and his reputation as a scoring threat are rising.
- Take the misogyny out of your marketing, Syracuse - The Bolts AHL affiliate went a little lively with team promotional advertising, and rubbed the feminine audience the wrong way.
- Brush expectations aside as the Tampa Bay Lightning starts the new season - With how much "Stanley Cup or Bust" was crowed before the season ever started, suggesting people tone it down a bit or dial back expectations seemed like a good idea.
- Reflecting on the Bulin Wall - The end of Nikolai Khabibulin's playing career was announced later in the season, but new staff writer Jake Hamar touched on one of the elite standards that the Tampa Bay Lightning organization has ever had in net.
- Reacting to the Steven Stamkos-to-Calgary speculation - This, the reach/speculation of the Calgary Flames obtaining #91, is where the rumors roared to a start in-season that Stamkos would be moved by the Lightning. Even if a trade didn't make a lick of sense for the acquiring party.
- The captain, the cap, the contract and the cash - Still a truth for the Lightning upon retaining (or even moving) Steven Stamkos and often cited - the salary cap plays into it.
- The Dan Boyle Effect on the Tampa Bay Lightning - His time in Tampa was topped off with a Stanley Cup, his value to the team was built through on ice production (and through a forced-on-him trade).
- When it's about attendance and not competitiveness (or cost) of hockey - Touched on in January about the culture clash, a ridicule by Sportsnet via Twitter of Carolina Hurricanes attendance in favor of Quebec City hosting a junior-league game set off a price and compete-level comparison.
- Checking in on the Tampa Bay Lightning's 2014 NHL draft class
- Fans seek the NHL's attention on the subject of violence against women - The league has a growing reputaiton of players going too far and those in control not addressing the issue or taking it seriously. This is an interview piece.
- Checking in on the Lightning's 2010 NHL draft class - Steve Yzerman's first NHL draft as GM of the Lightning was conducted with the intelligence of Brian Lawton's scouting department.
- Just when did it become a fact Jon Cooper and Steven Stamkos have issues? - A morphing dialog through this post-review has Stamkos and Cooper at odds as part of the reason he hasn't signed an extension yet. Or at least that reasoning is adhered to by media people who expect Stamkos to leave Tampa Bay.
- The competitive drive is off course with the Syracuse Crunch - Perhaps this is evidence of in-game coaching issues at the north end of Tampacuse, or perhaps a grander problem for the organization who was determined to be competitive on all levels to engrave success on its players.
- Projecting a salary cap future with Steven Stamkos - Oh, sure, it was run only two days ago... it's still a fantastic job by Geofitz4 in projecting the Lightning roster and salary cap situation if Stamkos is retained.