With this being the NHL’s holiday break, we don’t have much actual news to offer you. So instead, here’s a few gifts to open. Whether you celebrate this time of year or not, enjoy some nice words about the Lightning from us, the writers here at Raw Charge, to you, the readers.
The top line
First, we found this tweet and we thought you’d like it.
Look at that! You love to see it. Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov, and Ondrej Palat have formed a dynamic trio. We wrote about Kucherov yesterday, we’ve got more Point below, so let’s focus on Palat for a second. His resurgence this season after a couple injury plagued years has been wonderful to watch. He’s showing that he’s still every bit a top line winger with a well-rounded game that allows him to contribute in every area of the ice. He creates, he play defense, he scores when he gets the opportunity. And with Point and Kucherov, he really shines.
Brayden Point is a star
We’ve officially moved past the “Have you heard about Brayden Point?” stage to the “Brayden Point is going to win a Hart Trophy” stage. Once again, he’s near the top of the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) leaderboard this season. As of now, he’s 4th. He’s tied for 3rd in total WAR over the last three years. He’s one of the best players in the NHL. Full stop.
Let’s take a moment to thank all the other NHL teams for passing over him and allowing the Lightning to draft him in the third round. And especially the Minnesota Wild for trading the pick used to select him so that Steve Yzerman and the rest of the front office at the time could be certain they landed Point.
The rest of the Atlantic Division is bad
Listen, this hasn’t been a great year for the Lightning so far. The season has been frustrating in many ways. But one thing we can offer as solace is that the rest of the division has also been bad. The Bruins appear to be running away with it but even their shot metrics are mediocre and their results have fallen off lately. But outside of them, everyone else has been pretty rough.
And that’s a nice thing for Lightning fans. Because it means that despite the team’s struggles, they still sit third in the division in points percentage, just barely behind the Leafs. They’re also second based on goal differential. That’s quite a gift from the rest of the teams in the division to allow the Lightning to hang around near the top of the standings this late in the year despite having played so far below their potential for much of the season.
That’s it. That’s the present. We’re just reminding you that Victor Hedman exists. He was a number one pick and just like you hope when a team picks a player that high, he’s become the best defender in the game. He won the Norris Trophy last year. He’s going to contend for it again this year. He’s a giant Swedish superhero who patrols the blue line and hopefully will continue to do so for at least another half decade. What a gift.