clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

How the 2021-22 Tampa Bay Lightning were built

There are some new faces on the roster

Tampa Bay Lightning v Florida Panthers Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

With Alex Barré-Boulet claimed by the Seattle Kraken and Gemel Smith heading to Injured Reserve, we finally have the season-opening roster for the 2021-22 Tampa Bay Lightning. These are the folks that will begin the title defense when the puck drops later today. Officially there are 14 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders on the roster, but that includes Smith and Cal Foote who is also out with an injury.

While the bulk of the roster was built from within (13 drafted players) it was rounded out by some savvy signings (6 free agents), and a couple of nice trades (4 players acquired via the trade market). Five players (Brian Elliott, Corey Perry, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Taylor Raddysh, and Boris Katchouk) will make their Lightning debuts at some point in the next week or so with Katchouk and Raddysh making their NHL debuts.

Forwards (14)

Steven Stamkos

Drafted 1st Round, 2008

2020-21: 38 Games Played, 17 Goals, 17 Assists, 18:26 TOI, 54.1 CF%

It will be an interesting year for the captain of the Lightning as he will most likely split his time between the second and third lines. This might mark the beginning of the next stage of his career as he goes from prolific scorer to potential Selke candidate. That being said, expect him to be right around 30 goals and a force on the power play.

Alex Killorn

Drafted 3rd Round, 2007

2020-21: 56 Games Played, 15 Goals, 18 Assists, 17:54 TOI, 54.4 CF%

Killorn, who has been in the organization longer than any other player, will be around 40 points and score around 17-20 goals. It’s just what he does.

Ross Colton

Drafted 4th Round, 2016

2020-21: 30 Games Played, 9 Goals, 3 Assists, 10:34 TOI, 51.4 CF%

We’ll get a little better idea of what type of NHL player Colton is going to be this season. He came up last year and rode a hot scoring streak for most of the regular season. While it didn’t continue in the playoffs, he did score a rather important goal. Expect him to center one of the bottom two lines, kill some penalties, and occasionally fill in on the second power play unit if injuries require a center.

Brayden Point

Drafted 3rd Round, 2014

2020-21: 56 Games Played, 23 Goals, 25 Assists, 18:26 TOI, 52.3 CF%

Brayden Point is one of the best players in this league and is finally getting some recognition. It took 53 points in 46 playoff games over the last two seasons to make some people realize how good he is. With his running mate, Nikita Kucherov, back for a full season, Point should be back up around 100 points.

Ondrej Palat

Drafted 7th Round, 2011

2020-21: 55 Games Played, 15 Goals, 31 Assists, 17:27 TOI, 52.6 CF%

The original Swiss Army knife for the Lightning, Palat is solid in all aspects of the game. Entering the final year of his current contract, the 30-year-old forward is just a really good hockey player who is responsable up and down the ice. If he stays healthy he should get to the 20-goal mark for the first time since 2013-14.

Nikita Kucherov

Drafted 2nd Round, 2011

2020-21 (playoffs only): 23 Games Played, 8 Goals, 24 Assists, 18:18 TOI, 56.3 CF%

Oh boy, it’s going to be a fun year for Kucherov. After sitting out all of the regular season, he showed he hadn’t missed a step as he brought his electric offense to the line-up. Now he’s back for 81 games with a more mature Brayden Point and the best power play unit in the league. Grab your popcorn and get ready to watch a master at work.

Mathieu Joseph

Drafted 4th Round, 2015

2020-21: 56 Games Played, 12 Goals, 7 Assists, 10:56 TOI, 48.7 CF%

This could be a breakout season for Joseph. After paying his dues on the fourth line, he should get a good look on the third line (and possibly the second) in a more offensive role. His speed is an asset and should make him effective as a forechecker.

Anthony Cirelli

Drafted 3rd Round, 2015

2020-21: 50 Games Played, 9 Goals, 13 Assists, 17:45 TOI, 52.9 CF%

After two really strong seasons, Cirelli had a bit of an off-year by his standards. Not only did his offensive production slip a little, but he wasn’t the same defensively. The Lightning will need him to regain that spark as he will be one of the players relied on to fill in for the loss of the Yanni Gourde line.

Corey Perry

Signed as free agent, 2021

2020-21 (w/Montreal): 49 Games Played, 9 Goals, 12 Assists, 13:44 TOI, 52.8 CF%

It was an interesting signing by the Bolts this offseason. After watching him on the other side of the ice during the past two Stanley Cup Finals, Tampa Bay brought noted pest Corey Perry into the fold. It looks like he’ll be on the third line (possibly with Stamkos) and on the second power play unit. While his willingness to go into the dirty areas is expected, he might throw in a few more goals than anticipated.

Patrick Maroon

Signed as a free agent, 2019

2020-21: 55 Games, 4 Goals, 14 Assists, 11:36 TOI, 46.5 CF%

Maroon is running it back one more time to see if he can get to four Stanley Cups in a row. That would be quite impressive. Expect pretty much what we’ve seen over the past two seasons - solid fourth line play and a willingness to keep the peace on the ice. He will also serve as a mentor on that line which will likely feature one and possibly two rookies on it throughout the season.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

Signed as a free agent, 2021

2020-21 (w/Colorado): 53 Games, 9 Goals, 2 Assists, 11:20 TOI, 54.9 CF%

A nice under-the-radar signing by the Bolts. Bellemare helps solidify the penalty kill and will win a bunch of face-offs (he had a 60.7 winning percentage last year). Having spent the last two seasons in Colorado he is used to playing on a high-octane offense and should provide solid minutes on the bottom-six.

Boris Katchouk

Drafted 2nd Round, 2016

2020-21 (w/Syracuse): 29 Games Played, 11 Goals, 23 Assists, 18:50 TOI

One of two rookies to make the team, Katchouk plays a similar game as to Ondrej Palat. Defense comes first, but he does have a capable set of offensive skills. He can play any position up front and will likely see some time on the penalty kill. While no one particular skill stands out, he does do everything pretty well.

Taylor Raddysh

Drafted 2nd Round, 2016

2020-21 (w/Syracuse): 27 Games, 12 Goals, 17 Assists, 19:39 TOI

The other rookie that will be cycling in and out of the line-up, Raddysh had a strong training camp and seems to have really worked on the defensive side of his game. He has a really good shot and seems to know where to go in the offensive zone. If he can show a little consistency, then he might move up the line-up pretty quickly.

Gemel Smith (will start the season on Injured Reserve)

Signed as free agent, 2019

2020-21: 5 Games, 0 Goals, 3 Assists, 10:03 TOI, 40.7 CF%

Smith will begin the season on Injured Reserve after suffering an injury in training camp. After spending most of last season on the taxi squad, he was looking forward to earning one of the open spots on the fourth line. An energetic forward with speed, he would have been a good fit, but it looks like he might be out for awhile.

Defense (7)

Victor Hedman

Drafted 1st Round, 2009

2020-2021: 54 Games Played, 9 Goals, 36 Assists, 25:03 TOI, 53.1 CF%

After dealing with an injury for much of last season, Big Vic is back to 100%. The bedrock of the Lightning defense, Hedman should once again put up a season that will have people considering him for the Norris Trophy.

Jan Rutta

Acquired via trade with Chicago, January 2019

2020-21: 36 Games Played, 0 Goals, 8 Assists, 16:02 TOI, 50.5 CF%

It looks like the Lightning finally have someone to play alongside Victor Hedman. Rutta isn’t flashy and he’s not going to score a lot of goals, but he will throw a few hits and make sure he’s back to cover for his defensive partner. Expect his ice time to increase year-over-year.

Ryan McDonagh

Acquired via trade with New York Rangers, February 2018

2020-21: 50 Games Played, 4 Goals, 8 Assists, 21:54 TOI, 52.4 CF%

On 90% of NHL teams, Ryan McDonagh would be on the top pairing. While he’s never going to get that designation while Hedman is around, McD will still earn his keep by playing against the Lightning’s toughest opponents.

Erik Cernak

Acquired via trade with Los Angeles, February 2017

2020-21: 46 Games Played, 5 Goals, 13 Assists, 19:47 TOI, 53.8 CF%

The brick wall of the Lightning defense, Cernak stands 6’3” and weighs 230 lbs. He’s not afraid to use his size on the ice. Just 24-years-old, he is still learning and will get better.

Mikhail Sergachev

Acquired via trade with Montreal, June 2017

2020-21: 56 Games Played, 4 Goals, 26 Assists, 21:58 TOI, 50.4 CF%

Expect a big season from Sergachev. After spending last season working on the defensive aspects of the game, he wants to increase his offensive output. The four goals (all at even strength) he scored last season marked a career-low, but expect him to double or even triple that number as he should see some favorable match-ups.

Zach Bogosian

Signed as free agent, 2021

2020-21 (w/ Toronto): 45 Games Played, 0 Goals, 4 Assists, 14:32 TOI, 52.1 CF%

Welcome back, Zach. After a year in exile in Toronto, Bogosian returns to Tampa to provide some depth at the right side of the defense. Much like Rutta’s role with Hedman, Bogosian provides a bit of a safety valve for Sergachev to roam around in the offensive zone.

Cal Foote

Drafted 1st Round, 2014

2020-21: 35 Games Played, 1 Goal, 2 Assists, 12:53 TOI, 49.4 CF%

Foote won’t start a game for a few weeks as he continues to recover from a hand injury suffered in the offseason. When he does return, he’ll battle Bogosian for that spot on the third pairing. He had an up and down rookie season last year, but expect him to improve his game once he gets into the line-up.

Goaltenders (2)

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Drafted 1st Round, 2012

2020-21: 42 Games Played, 31 Wins, 10 Losses, 2.21 GAA, .925 SV%

“As long as we have 88 in net, we have a chance to win”. Vasilevskiy is the foundation of this team. That’s it. That’s all you need to know.

Brian Elliott

Signed as a free agent, 2021

2020-21 (w/ Philadelphia): 30 Games Played, 15 Wins, 9 Losses, 3.06 GAA, .889 SV%

Elliott takes over for the retired Curtis McElhinney as the back-up for Vasilevskiy. Unlike in past years, the Bolts may rely on him more than they have on the second stringers in the past. It’s going to be a long, busy year for Vasy and to keep him from getting burned out Elliott will probably see action in 20-25 games.