It was a quiet Monday in the hockey world as no new news really broke. Players that have been loaned overseas are slowly trickling back into the U.S. and Canada in order to prepare for any necessary quarantines. As of right now, the two players in the Lightning organization that might be recalled, Otto Somppi and Dominik Masin, remain with their respective European clubs.
There also hasn’t been any movement in regards to fixing the salary cap issues that continue to pester the Lightning this off-season. They aren’t the only team dealing with cap-related problems as the Vegas Golden Knights still need to shed some salary in order to become compliant. Nor are they the only team with RFA issues as Columbus still needs to sign Pierre-Luc Dubois and the New York Islanders have to come up with a contract for Mathew Barzal.
It seems like the Lightning fans have been in a holding pattern all fall long as we wait for these issues to be resolved. Hopefully we’re looking at a flurry of news in the next couple of weeks and the there is some semblance of a final roster for the team around the Christmas holiday (only 10 days away, get your shopping in!)
It’s odd seeing the prognosticators confidently picking the Lightning to be atop the standings again (consensus Vegas odds have them at 8/1 to win the Cup, second only to the Colorado Avalanche) when they could very well lose at least two key contributors in Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn, the health of Steven Stamkos is uncertain, and the defense is already looking a little thin with the loss of Kevin Shattenkirk.
It’s going to be a sprint to the Stanley Cup this year and the team that wins it will be the one that can best adjust to a compact schedule. With the Lightning’s depth a little thinner than it has been in past seasons, they’ll have to get a few lucky breaks along the way if they want to repeat.
Mr. Callan Foote kicked off the final five of our Top 25 Under 25 series. The young blueliner has a chance to make his NHL debut this season. [Raw Charge]
Owner Jeff Vinik spoke at the SBJ Dealmakers in Sports event and the Tampa Bay Business Journal provided some highlights of his talk. Mr. Vinik seems optimistic about things moving forward. [Tampa Bay Business Journal]
And again, I know it’s tough for people right now, but we’ve got the potential for really good economic growth in the U.S. and low inflation. I think we’re looking at 10 great economic years in the 2020s.”
Former Lightning prospect Connor Ingram is on his way back to the States. With training camps rumored to be starting around the first of the year, teams want their players back now so that they can complete any required quarantine before camps open. Ingram had been on loan with IF Björklöven in the Swedish HockeyAllsvenskan league. It looks like it’s a good time for him to cross the pond since the team is under investigation for match fixing. [On the Forecheck]
Speaking of camps opening, while there is no official start date to the season yet, sources are telling the Toronto Star that a deal could come as early as Thursday. The NHL and NHLPA continue to work through a myriad of issues such as: how will cross-border trades if a player has to quarantine for 14 days after they’re traded. [The Toronto Star]
There will have to be deadline set and rules in place for quarantining if, say, a player from an American team is traded to a Canadian one with border restrictions still in place during the pandemic. The deadline may not be set until after the season begins.
Having a NHL team in a non-traditional city is good for growing the sport. However, it’s only one part of embedding hockey culture south of the Canadian border. The sport really grows when the game is taught to younger players. Former player Cosmo Clarke has been doing that for over 20 years in the Dallas area. One of his former students - the Lightning’s own, Blake Coleman [NHL.com]
He found there were some boys and girls who had some hockey skills, but not the foundation to excel in the game.
“The power skating, the shooting mechanics, none of that stuff was really down here at that time,” Clarke said. “When I first came down, you had general hockey guys doing lessons wearing shorts and T-shirts on the ice, doing private lessons. We came down, we’re wearing track pants, doing power skating, the whole thing.”
The NHL is going to have a revenue shortfall this season. There is no way around that. While they’ve more than likely made a few dollars on their Reverse Retro Jerseys, they still need to draw in some more funds to help keep the lights on and the ice cold. SportNet’s Elliotte Friedman is reporting that they are exploring the possibility of putting ads on the players’ helmets. Hey Lightning, we can give you (checks the couch cushions in the Raw Charge office) $26.78 if you’d be willing to put a Raw Charge sticker on the helmets. [Sportsnet]
The NHL Network loves their lists. Currently they are running down the Top 50 players in the league. Not sure what their criteria involves, but they do have Steven Stamkos (and his Stanley Cup) ranked 39th. [NHL.com]
“One of the best shooters the game has ever seen, that’s why he might go to the Hall of Fame,” [Former Bolt and current talking head Mike] Johnson said. “His numbers are good enough if he can just stay healthy for another couple hundred games … Offensively, with the puck on his stick, he is gifted. He is one of the best we’ve ever seen.”
We’re rolling through our prospects at a nice leisurely pace (number four on our list is today). Steve Dangle runs through all of the Maple Leaf prospects in 40 minutes. Learn about their up and coming players from experts like our own Lauren Kelly!