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Quick Strikes: Lightning voted second most disappointing NHL team so far this season

The rest of the league is not impressed with the Bolts so far.

2019 NHL Global Series - Sweden - Buffalo Sabres v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

The Bolts

With the Lightning still on break to get over the jet lag following their trip to Sweden, the news remains thin. Perhaps slightly of note is that the team did not make any recalls after sending Alex Volkov back to Syracuse on Monday. With only 12 forwards currently in Tampa, it seems likely they will eventually bring someone up to have an extra forward in case of injury. The most obvious options would be Luke Witkowski who was just sent to Syracuse before the trip, Danick Martel who spent all of last season in Tampa, or another veteran who has played well for the Crunch such as Gemel Smith or Cory Conacher.

In terms of things that did happen yesterday, the readers here at SBNation voted the Lightning the second most disappointing teams of the early part of the season. Only the Sharks were more disappointing.

In less disappointing news, the team named Pat Maroon the player of the week for his strong showing in Sweden.

The Prospects

In Syracuse, the Crunch have multiple moving parts at goaltender. First, with the Lightning returning from Sweden, Scott Wedgewood is back as the starter. That means Zach Fucale is headed back to the Orlando Solar Bears in the ECHL.

The other bit of news is that Mike Condon appears close to returning from his injury that has kept him out of the lineup all season. When he’s healthy, he should join Wedgewood to form the tandem in net for the Crunch with Spencer Martin heading back Orlando. But Condon could also become a trade chip if another NHL team needs a backup.

The Game

The Rangers are bad this year, which shouldn’t be surprising. But the teams seems less than enamored with some of its prospects including Lias Andersson.

When it comes to a potential trade, if that were to happen, so be it. You don’t hit on every pick, and sometimes things don’t work out. But the Rangers’ have barely given him a chance, and when those who cover the team on a day-to-day basis broach the question about his ice time, the answer they’ve receive thus far of “He (Lias) needs to earn more ice time” is an incomplete and inadequate one.

This is the case because when your most common linemates are a defender who is being used as a winger (Brendan Smith), a journeyman energy player whose main role is fighting (Micheal Haley), Greg McKegg, and Brendan Lemieux, it is unclear on what Andersson is being expected to do to earn more ice time when he’s already being given little opportunity to do so in the first place.

Speaking of being less than enamored with someone, the Kings are even more than that with Ilya Kovalchuk. They told him yesterday that he won’t be playing anymore. He’s welcome to keep hanging out withe the team but he won’t be seeing any ice time. With the last of his bonuses for this season to be paid on December 15th and hardly any of his money in base salary this season, expect him to head back to the KHL after he gets that final bonus money.

In essence, the Los Angeles Kings told Kovalchuk he’s fired. Thanks for everything over the last year, but we don’t see a future for you in Los Angeles.

It’s very interesting that two summers ago the Kings were all in on the Ilya Kovalchuk Sweepstakes but then realized that the Russian winger is beyond his prime and is really only good as a power play specialist. Except then none of the three coaches that Los Angeles has had in the last two seasons have known what to do with him either on special teams or at even strength. It’s frustrating that the six million dollar man isn’t scoring goals (then again, no one on this roster currently is).