This time last year the Tampa Bay Lightning were preparing to take on the Montreal Canadiens in the sixth game of the 2019-20 season. They were sitting at 2-2-1 having played inconsistently (to be nice) as they would for the next month or so. They did win that night, thanks to a strong start by Andrei Vasilevskiy. Despite the victory they were still far from the dominating team that would run roughshod through the playoffs.
This year, the players are scattered to the winds recouping from their two-month whirlwind of hockey while their general manager is trying hard to assemble a team that will take the ice whenever the next season starts. At some point in the next few months they’ll announce an actual start date for training camp and for the start of the season.
With the excitement of the draft and the opening of free agency behind us now, the slow part of the season is setting in. News will trickle out slowly, especially with the big name free agents having found their new homes. There is no need to keep an eye on Twitter every hour of the day to see what is happening.
At some point in the next 90 days or so Julien BriseBois will trade at least one player. Hopefully, he can trade two. That should give him the room to sign Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev. If he can make that happen (and maybe add some cheap depth on defense) it will be as good as of an offseason as we could hope for.
So that’s basically 2-4 moves that need to be done and they can happen at any time. So, I’m hear to tell you it’s ok to go out and enjoy the world. You can forget about hockey for a little bit (I mean don’t forget to stop by here every morning) and go and live your life.
Bask in the fact that the Rays are a win away from the World Series. If you live in Florida enjoy the fact that it’s not 100+ degrees outside. If you’re not in Florida enjoy the changing of the seasons and go drink something with pumpkin spice in it.
Obsessing about a Tyler Johnson or Steven Stamkos trade at this time of year will drive you nuts. Like the players, it’s good for fans to occasionally decompress from the game. I know it’s hard to disconnect from the game, but it can be for the better. No one wants to get burnt out when the sport isn’t even in season.
Mr. BriseBois checked off another to-do item on his list as he officially signed Restricted Free Agent Ross Colton to a one-year, two-way deal. The center led the Syracuse Crunch with 31 assists last year as he took a big jump in his development in his second year of professional hockey. With another strong season he could be knocking on the door for the Lightning as early as 2021-22. The move leaves the team with six RFA’s left to sign (Anthony Cirelli, Erik Cernak, Mikhail Sergachev, Mathieu Joseph, Alex Volkov, and Dominik Masin) [Tampa Bay Lightning]
Former Lightning goaltender Manon Rheaume spoke to SI/The Hockey News about playing a NHL game, meeting David Letterman, playing in the ThunderDome, and a new book about her career. [SI/The Hockey News]
And here’s the Letterman interview she referenced...
Jack Thompson hasn’t played in the NHL yet (or met David Letterman as far as we know), but he has the offensive skills to make it to the league. Here is a little more on one of the newest members of the organization [Raw Charge]
He seemingly has the tools that project him as a potential NHL blueliner. He can skate, he can shoot, and has a solid first pass out of the defensive zone. Central Scouting had him ranked 60th in their final draft rankings of North American skaters.
The players and coaches weren’t the only ones who spent 65 days in the bubble. Team Chiropractic Physician Dr. Tim Bain was a member of the staff that was with the team throughout the playoffs. He shared his point of view on what it was like. [Bay News 9]
So many t-shirts. When a team wins a championship it seems every one creates a new shirt. So it’s not a huge surprise that Pat Maroon has a few shirts based on his epic celebration antics. Florida man, indeed. [Sauce Hockey]
Around the League
Former Lightning Marc Bergevin is getting things done in Montreal. After signing Tyler Toffoli and trading for Josh Anderson this offseason, he started to working on next offseason as he signed forward Brendan Gallagher to a six-year, $39 Million extension. [Habs Eyes on the Prize]
The 5’9” forward has been one of the biggest success stories in the team’s recent history, going from fifth-round pick in the 2010 NHL Draft to a top line forward. The Edmonton native has 173 goals and 161 assists (334 points) in 547 career games. In 49 career NHL playoff games he has 11 goals and 14 assists.
The Western Hockey League announced that they plan on opening their season on January 8th, 2021. No details on how many games the teams will play have been released yet. Several Lightning prospects such as Jayden Dureau, Jack Finley, and Quinn Schiemann call the WHL home. [WHL.ca]
Vegas owner Tom Foley was on the radio and dropped some news that may or may not reflect how the 2021 season is going to look for the NHL. First of all he insinuated that there would be a Canadian division (mainly because he doesn’t think the border will be open) and that an abbreviated season could begin as late as February 1st. [RMNB]
“There’s so much unknown. We don’t know when we’re going to play, if we’re going to play,” Foley said. “I know the Commissioner’s dedicated to having a season and awarding the Stanley Cup, but you can’t play in bubbles. It’s impossible. You can’t do it. You can’t afford it.”
Go out and make the best of your day. Also, wash your hands and wear a mask.