Following their defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final, the 2015-16 Tampa Bay Lightning got together one more time for exit interviews, to clean out lockers and talk to the attending media to cap off the season.
There are some big questions that the organization needs to address this summer...
What has to change in order to 'get over the hump'? "Every area can always be improved and we'll look at everything but off the top of my head, we need to improve the power play and team depth for the playoffs. We need to get scoring from top to bottom, all four lines. We also need to figure out why we're giving up so many shots and correct that." - Steve Yzerman
"We need to win five more games." Jon Cooper
"We've been fortunate to be able to keep this team together mostly unchanged the last two years. I don't know if that's going to be possible going into next season." - Yzerman
"We have a good core. Not just a good core, a good team. There are 27 other teams that would love to be where we are." - Cooper
Are there any players who need serious medical attention during the offseason? "It's too soon to tell. The players will get physical exams over the next couple of days but there's nothing on the surface that would suggest that's the case." - Yzerman
"If I was a skater, I could have played (in the last few games). But as a goalie, it's going to take me me a little while to heal up. It shouldn't affect my ability to work out this summer." - Ben Bishop
Is help liable to come from within the organization or outside of it? "It's more likely to come from within. When you look at the salary cap situation, it's difficult to bring in significant free agents. Especially since we want to retain all of our free agents, if that's possible." - Yzerman
What about those free agents? "We have to be very careful. The future of this organization for the next seven or eight years will be determined by what happens over the next two summers. Every contract we offer affects every other contract, so we have to be extremely careful." -Yzerman
Is Jonathan Drouin on the trading block? "I always say that I'm going to do what's best for the Tampa Bay Lightning organization and I think what's best for this team is Jonathan Drouin being on it." - Yzerman
Is the goalie tandem of Ben Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy expected to remain intact? "Between the salary cap and the prospect of expansion, eventually we'll be forced to make a tough decision. That's not the case yet, though." -Yzerman
"I think you have to have two. That's the reason we've gotten as far as we have the last two years. You look at Montreal when Carey Price went down. Whether it's me or Vasi, the team has a chance to win every night. We help each other and we work well together." - Bishop
THE BIG ONE: Is Steven Stamkos coming back? "My preference is for him to come back." - Yzerman
"That's not a question for me. Do I want him back? Yes." - Cooper
"I haven't thought about anything other than the playoffs. I'm going to rest for a week or two and then we'll start looking at things. We've all kept all that stuff internal and I expect things to stay that way until a decision is made. My preference is to stay here and if both sides want to make that happen, it'll happen." - Stamkos
Would he consider offering a 'Hometown Discount', taking less money to stay with the Lightning? "I could sign a contract for the league minimum. I'm sure everybody would love that but I'm sure everybody knows that won't happen." - Stamkos
Is there pressure from the players association to sign for as much as possible? "Where does that come from? I've seen that out there and I can tell there is zero talk between the players association and players about that." - Stamkos
And with that, we enter every hockey fan's least favorite time of the year: Wait-And-See season. At least these long playoff runs shorten that a little bit, right?
So long, Lightning fans and Raw Charge readers. It's been nothing less than a privilege. My name is Clark Brooks and that's my time. Thanks for coming!