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Quick Strikes: Lightning keep defenseman Ben Thomas around for another year

16 points, y’all. 16.

Syracuse Crunch Ben Thomas (26) with the puck against the Toronto Marlies in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York on Friday, January 5, 2019. Toronto won 5-2.
Scott Thomas Photography

The Lightning

-Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is the best shooter of the salary cap era. Geo has the facts to back up that statement!

After looking at all the evidence, the debate comes down to Stamkos and Laine. Both are near or at the top in all of the metrics we’ve examined. But to me, the difference is that Stamkos has maintained this success over a much longer period of time. I know that’s not quite fair to Laine, but it also wouldn’t be fair to Stamkos to discount his prolonged success. Stamkos has played in 746 career NHL games over 11 seasons. Laine has played just 237 games over three seasons and is just beginning his journey.

-The Lightning are in good company when it comes to Stanley Cup odds for 2020.

The top four teams expected to take the East all come from the Atlantic, with the Lightning, Bruins, Leafs and Panthers favoured to win the conference ahead of any Metro-based clubs, according to both

-Tampa’s first annual Bolts Beach Bash is slated for July 27th!

The Bolts Beach Bash will kick off at 10 a.m. with a Lightning Made Ball Hockey Tournament followed by a day full of fun beach activities including a cornhole tournament, presented by Corona, live music, inflatables, games, giveaways & more. Ball hockey and cornhole registration can be made on-site or at At 8 p.m. fans can bring their chairs and blankets for a sunset showing of the movie Mighty Ducks 3 on Clearwater Beach. The event will conclude at 9 p.m. with a firework show.

The Lightning/Crunch affiliation

-The Lightning re-signed RFA Crunch defenseman Ben Thomas to a one-year, two-way contract yesterday. Thomas has been with the organization for three years and has yet to see an NHL call up.

Thomas, 23, played in 67 games with the Syracuse Crunch last season, recording two goals and 16 points to go along with 24 penalty minutes. The Calgary, Alberta native set a career high with a plus-18 rating and netted his first career shorthanded goal during the 2018-19 season.

-Episode 9 of Syracuse Speaks covered the Crunch’s AHL schedule and finished out the recap of the 2018-19 season, including closing the door on the Connor Ingram trade - and what led up to it - and the great end to Syracuse’s regular season. Here it is for easy listening!

The Others

The Seattle expansion franchise appears to be close to making a decision on who their new GM will be.

-The Chicago Blackhawks and the Ottawa Senators made a trade yesterday, sending Zack Smith to Chicago in exchange for Artem Anisimov.

-Fun fact time!

-The newest Bantering with the Blueshirts came out yesterday.

We discuss Kaapo Kakko finally signing his ELC and the role he is most likely to play; we break down Larry Brooks’ take on the wait for Jacob Trouba to re-sign; where Ryan Strome and Vlad Namestnikov might go — if the Rangers are able to move them, and much more.

This week’s questions from our listeners were highlighted by a discussion about concussions and who would win in a fight: 100 New York City rats, or a Kodiak bear.

-The Boston Bruins have some issues to take care of, says the Bruins Beat podcast, and doing so won’t be easy.

-It is summer, after all, and even Philadelphia Flyers mascots have to get in shape. Lookin’ good, Gritty!

-Six Degrees of Mike McKenna has a new episode out, this time featuring Ray Barile, Head Athletic Trainer of the 2019 Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues.

-Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux want to make it clear that all hockey players are in this together.

-The Calder Cup visited Dennis Robertson’s family’s farm in Fort St. John.