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Quick Strikes: How long will the Tampa Bay Lightning be a Cup contender?

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I don’t have an answer for you either.

2019 NHL Awards - Portraits Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

The Bolts and Family

Last week, Craig Custance of The Athletic charted how many times certain teams were called “Cup contenders” since 2008. The Tampa Bay Lightning showed up five times since 2008, and Custance had some interesting words to say about this:

7. Teams labeled Stanley Cup contenders as often as the Tampa Bay Lightning typically win one. In four of the past five seasons, they were identified as Cup contenders, and the Sharks are the only team to have the same kind of success and not win it all. Despite the Lightning’s first-round disaster this spring, I’d have a real hard time picking against Tampa this coming season.

When do you think the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Cup window closes? I’d like to think that with the Syracuse Crunch stocked with forwards working hard on development, we’ll hover in that contending window for years, but will the team win with this particular core?

Puck Prose wrote about five of the prospects that will hopefully help us stay relevant: Tampa Bay Lightning: Top 10 prospects entering 2019 season [Puck Prose]

Losing Connor Ingram did a number of the Lightning’s goaltending depth. Most of their prospects are long-term projects. Hugo Alnefelt is a great example of this. He’s very raw. I love his size (6-foot-2) and athleticism. It jumps out at you. However, Alnefelt needs to drastically improve his rebound control and needs to be more compact in the net. He tends to flop around a bit too much for my liking.

Pensburgh also wrote an article inspired by Craig’s piece: Predicting how long the Penguins’ Stanley Cup window will stay open [Pensburgh]

Another intriguing element of the Penguins’ Cup contention window is that in the 12-year window Custance was examining in his article, Pittsburgh stayed relevant throughout the entire study. It also suggests that because of the couple year pattern as explained above, the Penguins should ideally be back in Cup contention as 2020 comes around — which is excellent news to the team and fans.

Cuteness AND CURLING news: Hundreds ‘beat the heat’ with the Lightning [WFLA]

Kids and parents had the opportunity to learn how to ice skate, test out their hockey skills, and even try curling with the Tampa Bay Curling Club.

Interesting tidbit from Yard Barker: Bruins likely stuck with David Backes due to his bad contract, drop in play [Yard Barker]

Mari Faiello of the Tampa Bay Times writes that one of the main reasons the Tampa Bay Lightning went out and signed prized backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney to a two-year, $2.6M deal on July 1 was because they were concerned about the fact that current backup Louis Domingue was going to be an unrestricted free agent next summer and would likely expect a raise. Domingue, who has been solid at $1.15M, might cost too much to re-sign, but a chance to get the veteran McElhinney at $1.3M AAV was too much to pass up. The team will likely wait to move Domingue until training camp when teams start realizing they need goaltending help.

Westgate NHL Regular Season Team Point Totals [Wagertalk]

The oddsmakers at the World’s Largest Race and Sportsbook have set the Lighting regular-season team points at 108.5. Which is five more than the Vegas Golden Knights’ second-highest total on the SuperBooks’ NHL futures chart of 105.5.

The Game

(Do you guys think Point is waiting for Mitch Marner to set the market? Because if so, eek.) Colorado Avalanche star forward Mikko Rantanen isn’t going to the KHL [MHH]

For now, Rantanen won’t be going to the KHL despite being a part of a large group of star restricted free agents that sill don’t have a contract for next season. At the moment, it seems like many teams (and agents) are comfortable waiting on Mitch Marner and the Toronto Maple Leafs to set the market. That said, as the summer goes on and Marner remains unsigned, we will likely to see some of the other players like Brayden Point, Matthew Tkachuk, Patrik Laine (who is represented by the same agent as Rantanen, Kyle Connor and Rantanen being to sign.

I am honestly worried about how the Panthers are going to do next season: Florida Panthers Look to Replicate Their Special Teams’ Success [The Rat Trick]

In terms of the power play, the Panthers had tremendous success last season. They finished second behind the Tampa Bay Lightning and relied on the man advantage through parts of the season to stay competitive and even win games.