Happy first week of summer (as of this coming Thursday)! In preparation for the days before the NHL Draft on June 22 weekend, us bloggers are spinning out Tampa Bay Lightning dreams. Will there be a pre-draft trade? Is Steve Yzerman sitting back in his chair and thinking about how the Washington Capitals didn’t make any big pre-trade-deadline moves, and yet won the Cup? Is he thinking about how it’s remarkably difficult to balance out the team’s need for a strong defenseman against the need to keep the forwards competitive?
Tampa Bay relied on its speed and scoring to dig itself out of defensive holes; they were built for it. But this energy ran out just shy of the Stanley Cup Final. Is Stevie Y reconsidering what kind of team best suits a Cup run?
The Hockey Writers ponder that maybe Nikita Kucherov is a key piece in finding the defense that’ll contribute to and bolster offense. Could Lightning Consider Trading Kucherov? [The Hockey Writers]
However, let’s say that a package of Justin Faulk, Elias Lindholm, Julien Gauthier and a 2019 first round pick was offered to the Lightning this offseason for Kucherov. While Yzerman likely wouldn’t pull the trigger on that trade, it wouldn’t be as easy of an offer to turn down as people may immediately believe.
And we folk at Raw Charge ponder that the one thing Yzerman keeps current through every team is an Old Guy with a Championship Ring. Is Steve Yzerman looking for a ring for Tampa Bay Lightning in free agency? [Raw Charge]
So it begs the question of who is out there that could provide that presence in the locker room. Lecavalier and St. Louis were inherited when Yzerman was hired, but every other player was acquired by Yzerman. As you go through the list of the others. they fit into one of three categories; younger player in his prime, older player on a short-term deal, and Mike Commodore.
Belated Happy Birthday to our Russian sniper, who is probably watching the World Cup from his parent’s house even now.
”We felt that we had to find that center iceman,” said Jay Feaster, the Lightning general manager at the time. “We still had (Vincent) Lecavalier, but we had traded (Brad) Richards (at the 2008 NHL Trade Deadline). Having a player that we thought could be a franchise player at that point and having him at that position, we were focused on that very, very early.”
And this is lovely news! Pink means the baby will emerge fabulous, right?
Our foes up north are eyeing up our Best in East slot. Someone might want to tell Mr. Dubas that it doesn’t matter where you end up in the regular season if you make playoffs: the point is winning the Cup. Keefe not target of NHL coaching job, Maple Leafs GM says. [NHL.com]
”In order to take that next step, the division is everything,” Dubas said. “We finished behind Boston. We finished behind [the Tampa Bay Lightning]. Whatever we do to improve our team, that’s what the focus has to be.
Yesterday Caley Chelios wished her pretty well-known dad a Happy Father’s Day:
The Tampa Bay Lightning haven’t had much impact yet from the last four drafts other than 2014 third-rounder Brayden Point. But their franchise thrives, of course, on the strength of first-round choices Steven Stamkos (2008), Victor Hedman (2009) and Andrei Vasilevskiy (2012). The Bolts got Cedric Paquette in the fourth round in 2012, and five of their six 2011 choices played in the NHL (the sixth was goalie Adam Wilcox, who played in Rochester and made his NHL debut for the Sabres last season).
Awwww, thank you, Espo!
Wishing all a Happy Father’s Day weekend! https://t.co/k0C09vmyQa— Phil Esposito (@PhilEsposito7) June 16, 2018
And thank you, Syracuse!