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Quick Strikes: It’s time for Victor Hedman to win the Norris

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Tampa Bay Lightning’s roster is set, season predictions are in, time to drop the puck.

Oscar Mayer NHL Hardest Shot
Victor Hedman #77 of the Tampa Bay Lightning competes in the Oscar Mayer NHL Hardest Shot event during the 2017 Coors Light NHL All-Star Skills Competition
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Bolts

Hockey season officially begins today, meaning if you haven’t read @GeoFitz4’s season preview for the Tampa Bay Lightning (or any team for that matter), you’re doing something wrong. “Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov both have elite-level hockey IQ and think the game the same way. They’ve already shown off their chemistry in the pre-season and it’s a good bet that that will continue to grow into the regular season and could produce the Lightning’s first 90 point season since 2011-12.” [SB Nation]

All 31 teams in the NHL had to be cap compliant at 5pm EST yesterday and the Lightning were no exception. Check out the Bolts’ full 23-man roster at NHL.com and full salary cap situation at CapFriendly.com.

Our amazing site artist @Rxlands has made some swanky wallpapers for the Lightning’s October schedule (and will be making one for every month of the season). Go download them!! [Raw Charge]

Will Steven Stamkos ever be the same after his injury? Yes? No? Hopefully? The honest answer is we won’t know until we see the Captain play consistant NHL games. “‘It may take some time. It might not. The only way you're going to find out is getting in a regular season games and putting yourself through that test.’

“Watching Stamkos in training camp, it was like he never left. He was flying up the ice, blasting his one-timers. He wasn't shying away from contact. The timing isn't there yet. But teammates sense a hunger in the four-time All-Star.” [Tampa Bay Times]

Coach Jon Cooper has been doing some inspiring work with his charity “Coop’s Catch for Kids” which has given over $200,000 for pediatric cancer research, but more importantly, given kids and families the experiences of a lifetime with his annual fishing trip with the team. My synopsis of this article would not do it justice, so please go read it fully. [NHL dot com]

Not to freak anybody out but the big hockey network up here in Canada has basically predicted that the Tampa Bay Lightning will win the Stanley Cup this year (or at the very least make the final) and Victor Hedman will win the Norris for best defenseman of the year. Clearly he’s due ;) [Sportsnet]

The Prospects

Cory Conacher has cleared waivers (yay!) and will report to the Syracuse Crunch. Conacher wants to make sure he keeps his position in the world in perspective. “A lot of people would be honored to be in my position where they play hockey for a living. I can't be down. I can't complain.” I highly doubt this will be the last we see of Conacher in a Lightning jersey. [Syracuse]

War Memorial looks like it got a pretty nice faccelift over the summer. Check out some pictures from Media Day!

The Game

Vegas has to be making a trade... RIGHT?!

I’m not sure how many people in the States know who Ron MacLean is. Quick summary: He is basically God + Gretzky + the voice Nutella would make. He was on the Steve Dangle Podcast yesterday telling stories and I just had to share it with you because it was magical and perfect. [Reddit for more links]

We have released our Full NHL 2017-18 season preview!! It contains previews for eacch of the 31 teams, standings predictions, x-factor players and so much more. “Toronto is looking as dangerous as ever this season with their young core of incredible talent. The addition of Patrick Marleau will strengthen an already deep offensive lineup, pushing the Maple Leafs into second in the division thanks to the contributions of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander.” [SB Nation]

Highlight of the Night: Please refer to the Ron MacLean podcast. Yes, I know I’m shoehorning but there were no games yesterday! WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FROM ME!

Jack Eichel has signed his second contract and it was... not quite Connor McDavid’s. Eichel will be making $10 million per year for the eight years following this season, which is the final year of his entry-level contract. “The 20-year-old forward is coming off a year in which he potted 24 goals and a team-leading 57 points in an injury-shortened 61-game season, giving him 113 points in 142 career games.” [Sports Illustrated]