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The 2018-19 Tampa Bay Avengers

The Tampa Bay Lightning are a lot like Marvel’s Avengers, but which players would the Lightning gear up for an Avengers-style battle?

NHL: Florida Panthers at Tampa Bay Lightning Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning are a team trying to avenge the pain they felt in 2015. As a team on a quest to win the day, they’re a lot like the Marvel Cinematic Universe Avengers! So, who would the Avengers be on the Tampa Bay Lightning? Which players would the Bolts gear up for battle, Avengers style? Today, we tried to figure this out.

First of all, we wanted Steve Yzerman to be Nick Fury in this, but then he decided to go off and retire, so THANKS A LOT, STEVE.

Let’s begin with the man who leads the Lightning into “battle” every night:

Jon Cooper: Iron Man

Just like Tony Stark is to the Avengers, Jon Cooper is the bonafide leader of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Like Stark, Cooper uses his intelligence to draw up game plans and tactics. Even if the players don’t necessarily agree with Cooper’s strategies, all of the team listens and execute them to the best of their abilities, because they know he’s a proven winner.

Steven Stamkos: Captain America

Both the Avengers and the Lightning are led by a ‘captain’ named Steve. Aside from near super-human strength, Stamkos’ lethal slapshot can be compared to Rogers throwing his vibranium shield to take opponents down. Although it’s impossible to compare anyone to an unwavering moral compass like Rogers’, Stamkos is the closest the Lightning will come to having a true Captain America.

Victor Hedman: Thor

Thor is a Norse god, and Hedman is Swedish and godlike. Hedman’s shot can be compared to Thor throwing his hammer. As one of the original Avengers, many new members look up to Thor, and the same goes for Hedman as a member of the Lightning’s leadership group. Despite his role as the Bolts last line of defense, Hedman isn’t afraid to join the rush and get involved in the offense, just like Thor in battle.

Yanni Gourde: Hulk

Maybe this doesn’t make sense at first glance, but just like Bruce Banner on the battlefield, Gourde turns into a different beast, if you will, on the ice. He isn’t afraid to get physical and use his body to beat opponents off the puck along the boards. No, he doesn’t grow into a huge green monster, but Gourde plays the game just like he could.

Tyler Johnson: Black Widow

In a good way! Johnson can be described as small, skilled, and deadly, just like Natasha Romanoff. Incredibly underestimated and misjudged at first glance, Johnson’s speed and release make up for his short stature. If Johnson hasn’t already blown past opponents at his own blue line, he’s circling around the net waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike.

Anton Stralman: Hawkeye

Stralman has been around the game forever, and although his past isn’t as secretive as Clint Barton’s, the wily veteran is definitely the ‘dad’ of the Lightning. A precise sharp-shooter in battle, Barton isn’t to be underestimated, and neither is Stralman. After bouncing around from team to team, Stralman has finally found a home in Tampa Bay, like Barton with the Avengers, and he’s become a mainstay on the Lightning blueline.

Ryan McDonagh: Vision

No one really knows who he is, but he walked in on day one and lifted Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, so I guess he’s cool. A level, logical head in the midst of the chaos of personalities around him, McDonagh has the ability to lead, but he has come to understand that observing and following orders is what this team needs. He’s in it for the long haul, gem in his head or not.

Nikita Kucherov: Scarlet Witch

Also in a good way! Kucherov’s powers - sorry, talents - can definitely be likened to witchcraft or sorcery — like his cheeky shootout fake. Before last season, Kucherov was definitely an underrated player to the rest of the NHL, a lot like Wanda Maximoff before The Age of Ultron. Her coming out party was during that final battle, just like Kucherov’s last season. Now, people know what to expect from Kucherov, except that they still can’t predict when he will strike next.

Brayden Point: Bucky Barnes

Barnes is the defacto number two to Captain America, but we can easily argued that with his enhancements, Barnes is stronger. Next in line to hold the Captain’s Shield (comic book spoilers, sorry), Point is pretty new to the NHL, but he’s learning fast. Could he possibly be the next in line to wear the ‘C’ after Stamkos? With the mind of a veteran in the body of a young man, there’s a lot that Point can do with his Super Soldier abilities, including taking control of games and picking opponents apart.

Alex Killorn: Falcon

Falcon flies a lot, but as a result, he falls a lot too. Sam Wilson is reliable soldier who always has his teammates’ backs. Wilson is a military veteran, and Killorn is a veteran of the NHL. Just like Wilson, Killorn uses his experience to help lead the kids, while assisting the team’s stars in their quest to be the most badass heros (and hockey players) in the world. That “Killer” instinct is second to none.

Cory Conacher: Ant Man

Scott Lang has never quite followed the straight and narrow path; he’s had to improvise a lot in order to get where he is. But Lang is a great person to have on your side, especially when it comes to friendly banter! Both Lang and Conacher use their size to their advantage. Like Lang, Conacher is a family man who knows where his loyalties lie, especially when the going gets tough. He spent a little time in the quantum realm, also known as Switzerland, but he’s back and better for it.

And let’s be real, you could totally see Cory being Phoebe’s boyfriend in Friends.

Ondrej Palat: War Machine

Iron Man’s sidekick, War Machine (Rhodey) stands behind his partner in crime. Perhaps Palat isn’t quite Cooper’s sidekick’, but he is the perfect example of a good soldier and teammate, especially when it comes to the team’s commitment to defense, structure, and playing the right way.

Dan Girardi: Loki

People either love or hate Girardi on the ice, and if that doesn’t fit Loki to a tee, I don’t know what does. His decision-making is questionable at times and he’s definitely made his fair share of mistakes, but he has good intentions and managed to turn it around at the end. Was I talking about Loki or Girardi? I’ll leave that for you guys to figure out.

Slater Koekkoek: Quicksilver

No, Koekkoek hasn’t been gifted with incredible speed like the Quicksilver, but as the former tenth-overall draft pick in 2012, he joined the Lightning organization with a high upside. His development looked promising, but unfortunately, it doesn’t look like he’s panned out. How does this match Quicksilver? To quote Hardev here, both had “promising careers, but died too soon.”

[editor’s note: Characters come back to life in these movies all the time right? Maybe Koekkoek will make a comeback!]

Mikhail Sergachev: Spiderman

Like Peter Parker, Sergachev is the youngest, most inexperienced member of the team, but also the one with the most raw talent. Sergachev’s fluid skating is reminiscent of Parker soaring through the skies using his webbing. Under Stark’s tutelage, Parker blossomed into a fully fledged member of the Avengers, and Cooper will help Sergachev reach his full potential as well.

Ryan Callahan: Drax

Passionate. Lovable. But can also punch a face or two. Callahan is fearless, even when his team is severely out-gunned, and came from a strange land that idolizes blocking shots.

Andrei Vasilevskiy: Dr. Strange

Long, tall, and does funny things with his hands. No one understands who he is, where he’s from, or how’s able to make magic out of thin air. Also, Benedict Cumberbatch is totally a cat guy.

Join in on the fun in the comments and tell us who we got wrong!