-Yes, it’s only August, but most can agree on one thing: The Tampa Bay Lightning is still looking pretty darn good as the NHL’s preseason looms up next month. Their Stanley Cup window is “wide open” according to The Hockey News.
Looking at their prime pieces – goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, centers Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point, right winger Nikita Kucherov and defenseman Victor Hedman – every one of them remains in his 20s. Kucherov is the reigning league MVP and scoring champ, and Vasilevskiy is the reigning Vezina winner, while Point is just commencing his prime and young blueliner Mikhail Sergachev hasn’t entered his. Assuming they can sort out RFA Point’s contract, they still have years and years of contention left.
-Our own Top 25 Under 25 countdown marched on yesterday with #19 Dennis Yan.
The Crunch’s depth was Yan’s main enemy this past season. Pushed down by the likes of Alexander Volkov, Andy Andreoff, and Boris Katchouk, Yan struggled to get off the Crunch’s 4th line and into the spotlight. This clearly hindered his production totals, and also hindered his visibility. He saw little special teams time, and only netted one power play goal all season. His skills were most certainly hard to display in that context, and he has not yet managed to find the scoring touch he had in juniors when he led the Shawinigan Cataractes with 75 points in 64 games.
-When you look back at the Lightning’s history, can you pinpoint important goals that saved a series, sent the team to the playoffs, made history? Steve Marowski of THW picked out 10 he thought were the most important.
-In general-yet-eventually-specific news, The Athletic’s 2019-20 NHL farm system rankings have started. The Lightning hasn’t been written about yet, but it’ll get there at some point, so see that post to stay updated. Here’s a timely reminder from Geo on how Corey Pronman figures his rankings:
That typically means that lacking future stars in your farm system hurts your farms ranking quite a bit since they go from the philosophy of "You need superstars to win in the NHL (except that didn't help the Oilers)." They don't take into consideration the state of the NHL team.— GeoFitz (@GeoFitz4) August 12, 2019
-Bolts Brew Fest is coming up fast!
T-minus four days until #BoltsBrewFest!— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) August 12, 2019
Limited VIP packages are still available and will include a branded pint glass and a free voucher to one of our 2019 preseason games!
-Can you spot Lightning prospect Gabriel Fortier in these photos? I can’t, but Lauren Kelly did and she told me where he is!
(Hint: he’s in the third photo)
The 2019 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup wrapped up on Saturday, with Russia taking gold after a 3-2 win over Canada and Sweden claiming bronze over Finland. The week-long tournament showcased some of the best U-18 prospects available across the globe, and they did not disappoint.
-The NWHL has partnered with Chipwich. The delicious confection is now the “official ice cream sandwich of the NWHL.”
“Chipwich is proud to support the efforts of the NWHL to establish professional women’s hockey in North America,” said David Clarke, the CEO of Crave Better Foods, the owners of Chipwich®. “With Chipwich, we proved that an iconic product can be made better. There’s no doubt that the NWHL makes hockey better by giving these incredible athletes the opportunity to play at the highest level. We look forward to sharing in the excitement on and off the ice.”
The partnership is a good one for the league and its players.
-The Metropolitan Riveters have named Ivo Mocek their new head coach.
“I met with a lot of strong candidates, but Ivo’s passion for hockey, his knowledge of the game, and his commitment stood above the rest,” the Riveters’ general manager shared in the league’s press release. “I liked his philosophy on team-building, and I was really impressed by his vision for our club. After Ivo accepted the position, I had him speak individually with some of our players. Those conversations, and the reaction of the players to him, were even more proof to me that Ivo is the ideal person to lead the Riveters.”
-Attention Carolina Hurricanes fans: James Reimer & Gustav Forsling have numbers!
⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️— Carolina Hurricanes (@CanesNHL) August 12, 2019
Jersey numbers for James Reimer & Gustav Forsling! pic.twitter.com/HMC47wivEB
“Roberto is a cornerstone of Panthers history and an icon of the game,” said Panthers Owner & Governor Vincent J. Viola. “He has represented himself and the Panthers with tremendous dignity, determination and a standard of excellence throughout his career. Roberto exemplifies what it means to be a Florida Panther. His level of commitment to this franchise, his teammates, his family and the South Florida community is second to none. There is no player more deserving to be the first Florida Panther to have his jersey number retired.”
Speaking of Luongo...there’s still time to voice your opinion that the man simply just needs to go shopping! Be nice to the man.
I’m a man of the people. So I need some advice— Strombone (@strombone1) August 12, 2019
-The Washington Capitals might be needing a new PR guy soon. I guess it depends on how much he loves his job?
-Mike McKenna: We love you, too.
-Former Crunch goalie and Lightning prospect Adam Wilcox has signed an AHL deal with the San Antonio Rampage.
-Just how big is Johnny Gaudreau? Well...
(...Huh. Reminds me of a certain beloved former goalie of shortened stature who once listed 5’8 as his official height...)