The Tampa Bay Lightning were handily beaten by the Carolina Hurricanes in their preseason game of the year. The Canes beat the Bolts 4-1 at AMALIE Arena, Andrei Vasilevskiy taking the loss in 60 minutes of play. The game wasn’t particularly close, with Carolina out-shooting Tampa Bay 17-35, including managing an embarassingly low three shots on goal in the second period.
Over nine minutes in and Lightning with their first shot on goal of the period. Someone in the stands yelled "WE GOT A SHOT!"— Raw Charge (@RawCharge) September 19, 2018
Mathieu Joseph got the only goal of the game for the Lightning, a power play goal assisted by Taylor Raddysh and Tyler Johnson. Raddysh and Joseph look like a promising pair and something Benoit Groulx and the Syracuse Crunch coaching staff might look to keep going full-time.
Forward line combinations— Caley Chelios (@CaleyChelios) September 18, 2018
Since it would be cruel for me to have to write a full recap of this game, here are the main takeaways from the game in point form:
- Joseph and Raddysh were very good in this game; Joseph especially showed off his pace and playmaking ability well and even drew a penalty for his efforts. The two, along with Johnson, helped drive the Lightning’s play style, which was to be fast and dynamic. Joseph, with Johnson, was even able to get a short-handed chance (yes, he can penalty kill).
- Despite all my prayers, Dominik Masin might not be ready for the NHL just yet, he had a rough game. Alan noted to me that this might just be a product of nerves more than anything else. It’s only the first preseason game and it would be cruel to push judgement so soon.
Masin looks like he's forcing it a little too much. He's been a little too aggressive at times and has had some mistakes. Also took and undisciplined penalty.— Raw Charge (@RawCharge) September 19, 2018
Not a great play there by Masin. Coming out from behind the net with the puck. Tries to skate it out and gets caught, then called for hooking. Carolina power t.— Raw Charge (@RawCharge) September 19, 2018
- The defense, on the whole, wasn’t great. Along with the forwards, they were unable to get the puck out of the defensive zone, giving the Hurricanes lots of chances.
- Vasy got the entire game. Perhaps there was a plan to give Connor Ingram some time in net, but this interesting observation by GeoFitz might have been the reason they stuck with Vasy for the full game.
As the game has gone on, seems like Vasilevskiy is getting the feel back for tracking the puck. Seemed to be struggling with that early.— Raw Charge (@RawCharge) September 19, 2018
- Jon Cooper after the game shared that he liked 2018 top pick Gabriel Fortier’s play, especially for a kid who was just drafted. He also noted that Joseph is well on his way to checking off all the boxes NHL coaches need out of players at this level. His time in the NHL might be soon.
In a radio interview with Sportsnet650 in Vancouver, Elliotte Friedman dropped a bomb when he said that Jake Dotchin might have showed up to training camp “extremely out of shape” and having a body fat percentage of 25%. Could the Lightning have leaked this information as a PR move, especially with the team currently trying to terminate Dotchin’s contract? It will be very interesting to see what else comes out about this whole situation in the coming days and weeks.
Elliotte Friedman: on Jake Dotchin - -From what I heard, it was extreme, he wasn’t just out of shape, he was extremely out of shape, we had heard he showed up with 25% body fat, that’s way too high for an NHLer— Sportsnet 650 (@Sportsnet650) September 18, 2018
Alex Volkov has been impressing at Bolts camp. Captain Steven Stamkos even went as far to say that “he’s a guy that at a moments notice could be a guy that’s relied on this level.”
Stamkos on his impression of Volkov, "He's just so skilled. He's got a lot of poise with the puck." He said he's looking forward to playing with him and Kuch, and getting PP time together. "He's a guy that at a moments notice could be a guy that's relied on this level."— Caley Chelios (@CaleyChelios) September 18, 2018
Cool to see @86Kucherov mentor Alex Volkov at #TBLightning camp. Working on drills with him post practice. Giving him instructions during skate. They’ll be on same line tonight in preseason opener pic.twitter.com/wmtosIgZVi— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) September 18, 2018
And in other news...
Connor Ingram is back to doing Connor Ingram things...
Right wing Nikita Kucherov ranks highest, at No. 3, followed in short order by defenseman Victor Hedman (No. 5). Center Steven Stamkos is No. 20, goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy No. 25.
Which makes four players in the top 25, when you think about it.
Sure, this was a team that desperately needed to add centres in the off-season. But signing a five-foot-eight, 25-year-old who had 20 games of NHL experience to a one-way, two-year deal seemed like a borderline foolish decision to me.
Out with the old, win with the new! Hopefully.
If Andrei Vasilevskiy was still 23-years-old, the Lightning would be much higher in Corey Pronman’s ranking of the NHL’s under-23 cores. Alas, they slot in 20th. This is still a good piece by Pronman about what could be the top teams of the future (and the Edmonton Oilers). [The Athletic]
Tampa had a giant wave of quality youth a few years ago that helped propel it to contender status. It still has some nice young pieces. Point is a great top-six center, and Sergachev is a dynamic talent with upside. The farm system has a lot of guys who I think will play, but probably won’t be major parts of a good team.
The NHL had a bizarre offseason, the Lightning even got in on the action after the news that Steve Yzerman was stepping down at the peak of his powers. Down Goes Brown (who is now with The Athletic) breaks it all down. [The Athletic]
Last week’s out-of-nowhere announcement that Steve Yzerman was stepping down as GM. Julien BriseBois should do fine, but this isn’t the sort of thing that typically happens to Cup contenders on the eve of training camp. (Also, BriseBois’s first major move as GM was to pick what could end up being a major fight with the NHLPA.)
Preseason games have started and William Nylander of the Leafs still doesn’t have a contract. What’s going on? [Pension Plan Puppets]
I’ve been married to the optimistic stance that the contract will be completed at some point. Regardless of the name behind it, Nylander is an RFA and the Leafs have the control in this situation. But this assumed hold-out by Nylander’s camp isn’t doing him any favours (unless he’s going through many training montages a day in Sweden).
They did improve in 2017-2018, however. Their average rating last season was 0.71, and was the second highest improvement in the NHL (+88%) compared to the season before according to Sports Business Daily. Improvements were driven, in part, by the fact that the Stars were in a playoff fight for much of the season (until that terrible, no good stretch they had to then stumble into the end of the year).
And we end with the Ottawa Senators. A Tale in Two Tweets.
Pierre Dorion says the Duchene/Turris deal was a “no-brainer in terms of what we had to give up.”— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) November 6, 2017
Dorion says the biggest thing to be optimistic about with the Sens is:— Platinum Seat Ghosts (@3rdPeriodSuits) September 18, 2018
"We're a team."
Oh, God. It’s even worse hearing it from his mouth.
Pierre Dorion on being optimistic pic.twitter.com/soY7dqh1OD— Heart of NHL (@HeartofNHL) September 19, 2018
Okay, three tweets.