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Quick Strikes: Dog days of the off season

There’s news!

Vasilevskiy showing off his cat-like reflexes.

The Tampa Bay Lightning system

The dog days of the off season are here! Thankfully, Marty St. Louis has us covered.

We actually have some interesting stuff to read. Raw Charge is beginning to sort through who we might draft in the late first round, and yesterday’s report was on Matthew Robertson.

Scouting the 2019 NHL Draft: Defenseman Matthew Robertson fits the Lightning mold [Raw Charge]

Robertson’s real strengths fall in other areas though. He is a mobile skater, especially for his size, with above-average speed. He’s also smart positionally and strong along the boards in puck battles. He’s strong defensively and has high hockey IQ, which is a trait that the Lightning scouting staff has been shown to favor greatly.

Also poking around for content, Joe thought ahead a year: How summer moves could impact Lightning’s expansion protection list for Seattle [The Athletic, paid content]

If you had to pick just four forwards to protect, Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point would be guarantees, and I think Anthony Cirelli is a keeper, too. This would mean leaving off players like Mathieu Joseph, Johnson, Miller, etc. But Seattle can take only one player, so as tough as that would be, this would protect the Lightning’s coveted defensemen.

Don’t look, our site’s one enormous Stralman stan: Florida Panthers Should Pursue Free Agent Defenseman Anton Stralman [The Rat Trick]

Evidently, the 32-year-old defenseman would certainly improve the defense core of the Florida Panthers in a tremendous manner. Not only would Stralman be a relatively inexpensive option in free agency, but he would immediately provide the Cats with stability on their struggling blue line.

Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Marner, Zaitsev, Hurricanes Trade, Marleau [THW]

As well, Eliotte Friedman reported that he believed the Vancouver Canucks, New Jersey Devils, and Tampa Bay Lightning might have interest in Zaitsev. Right-shot defensemen are tough to find and, at a salary of $4.5 million per season for five years, a team knows exactly what the cost will be. Zaitsev, although he isn’t much of an offensive threat, is a good skater who can play on the penalty kill.

The thing is, offer sheets never happen: NHL RFAs Most Likely To Receive Offer Sheets This Summer [My NHL Trade Rumors]

Brayden Point, Tampa Bay Lightning

Like Marner, Point completed a career-best season (92 points) in the final year of his entry-level deal. And like the Leafs, the Lightning has over $74 million committed to 17 players for next season.

Geo spitballed a great team: The All-Time Greatest Tampa Bay Lightning Roster [Raw Charge]

Ok, I already cheated a little bit by moving Kucherov to the left wing. But finding wingers after Kucherov and St. Louis is a bit drop off. And I couldn’t resist the temptation of putting the two greatest wingers the Lightning have ever had next to the greatest center. We have Kucherov’s Art Ross season and one of Stamkos’ two Rocket Richard seasons. St. Louis actually scored more in this season than in 2003-04 when he won the Art Ross and Hart Trophy while scoring 94 points. His 102 points finished fifth in the NHL.

The Game

For two fanbases, there is exactly one more hockey game this season: Rask at his best to save Bruins in Game 6 of Cup Final, McKenna says [NHL.com]

With the Bruins adding to their lead in the third period, the chips were stacked against Binnington and the Blues, especially with Rask putting on a clinic at the other end of the ice.

Despite losing Games 4 and 5 of the Final, Rask has steadily gotten better and better as the series has progressed, and Game 6 was without question his shining moment thus far.

Women’s hockey boycott showing cracks as players start to return to NWHL [The Athletic, paid content]

“(The movement leaders) just didn’t have very clear answers and they were very unsure about a lot of my concerns,” Souliotis told The Athletic. “I just really didn’t understand why they had chosen to take this route when we have a league already there. We have our one league that everybody wanted.”