The Tampa Bay Lightning had many incredible players appear for the organization during the 2010s. So why not put together a dream team of Lightning players that appeared for them during the 2010s? Correct. There is not reason not to, so let’s do it!
Rules: To be eligible, a player must have played at least one game for the Lightning from 1/1/2010 to 12/31/2019. For my team, I’ll be trying my best to keep players in their natural positions and not do too much swapping. Decisions will be made based on performances during the 2010s. The team will be made of 18 skaters and two goaltenders for a regular game line-up. I’ll also pick two additional skaters, one forward and one defenseman, and one additional goaltender as Honorable Mentions. All stats listed are only for the above date range. If you want to play along and create your own All-2010s Team, here’s a link to the stats for skaters and goalies that appeared for the Lightning during that time frame. Post your team down in the comments and let the debate begin!
Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Martin St. Louis
Reuniting Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis on a line together is about as obvious as a choice as it gets. Ondrej Palat is also a natural choice here and is actually a player to reunite as well. During the 2010s, Stamkos put up 363 goals and 719 points. That puts him 2nd in goals, 24th in assists, and 5th in points among all NHLers. For Martin St. Louis, he put up 123 goals and 344 points in 311 games for the Lightning. Palat’s first full season actually saw him playing along side Martin St. Louis with Tyler Johnson in the middle during the 2013-14 season while Stamkos was recovering from a broken leg. Palat put up 105 goals and 311 points, good for 6th most points among Lightning players in the decade.
Alex Killorn - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
This one wasn’t a very hard line to put together either. Brayden Point racked up points very quickly in the beginning of his career with the Lightning picking up 106 goals and 230 points in 264 games which puts him 8th in points among Lightning skaters. Killorn is right there with Palat in the left wing depth chart, though he had a full seasons worth of games more than Palat in the 2010s. He finished the decade with 120 goals and 295 points in 553 games, good for 7th among Lightning skaters.
Nikita Kucherov also needs no introduction here. It was actually kind of a tough decision on him or St. Louis on the first line. Ultimately, I chose to go the nostalgia route with MSL on the first line, and get the current pairing of Point and Kucherov on the second line here. Kucherov finished the decade with 201 goals, 302 assists, and 503 points in 484 games in the 2010s putting him in 2nd, 3rd, and 2nd respectively among Lightning skaters. He was 36th among all NHLers for the decade in points with no player ahead of him having played less games during the 2010s.
Teddy Purcell - Vincent Lecavalier - Ryan Callahan
With this third line, you get a very interesting mix of players. Purcell spent a lot of time playing along side Stamkos and was a terrific set-up man, getting 136 of his 203 points with the Lightning on assists. Lecavalier gives us another iconic face of the Lightning franchise. Unfortunately his time with the organization ended with a buy-out (and the team is still paying him for another 5.5 years for that buy-out). In 210 games played in the decade, Lecavalier posted 72 goals and 168 points. His 0.8 PPG ranks 5th among all Lightning skaters in the decade.
Callahan’s time with the organization likewise came to an uneventful end as he was ruled out from playing further due to back issues and was traded to the Ottawa Senators for the final year of his contract. Callahan famously came over from the New York Rangers in the Martin St. Louis trade in 2013-14. His first couple of season in Tampa were strong, but injuries started to slow him down. Despite that, he was still a very popular player due to his fiery nature on the ice and charity off it.
Valterri Filppula - Tyler Johnson - Yanni Gourde
This is one where I went a little off script by going with three centers, though all three of them played on the wing at different points in their careers with the Lightning. Filppula came to the Lightning from the Detroit Red Wings as an unrestricted free agent before the 2014-15 season. A sound two-way forward and penalty killer, he put up 52 goals and 171 points over 292 games with the Lightning.
Tyler Johnson, the last member of the Triplets to make the All-2010s team, recorded 147 goals and 326 points in 502 games played. He comes in at 3rd in goals and 5th in points among Lightning players for the decade. Yanni Gourde was a pretty easy pick to round out this defensively responsible fourth line for our team. In just 222 games during the decade, he recorded 59 goals and 138 points during the decade.
Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman
I didn’t even have to look at the stats to put this one together. One of the best defensemen in the NHL and one of the best partners he’s ever had skating next to him. The two Swedes were a perfect complement to each other for multiple seasons after Stralman joined the team before the 2014-15 season. In 694 games, the most of any Lightning player in the 2010s, Hedman put up 100 goals, 343 assists, and 443 points easily leading all Lightning defensemen as well as being 3rd among skaters in points for the decade. Hedman was also 6th in points among all defensemen during the 2010s. Stralman played in 335 games and recorded 29 goals, 101 assists, and 130 points, second only to Victor Hedman in every category.
Mikhail Sergachev - Sami Salo
Mikhail Sergachev very quickly grew up on the Lightning playing in 192 games during the 2010s with 21 goals, 71 assists, and 92 points to come in third behind Stralman in all three categories. For the right side, I had kind of a tough decision. I was basically left with the choice of either a player that only played one season with the Lightning, or a lesser defenseman that played quite a bit.
Ultimately I went with Sami Salo. Salo played two seasons for the Lightning appearing in 117 games with six goals and 34 points. The Finnish defenseman mostly played alongside Victor Hedman on the top pairing and was a good partner as Hedman was breaking out offensively and turning into one of the top defensemen in the NHL.
Ryan McDonagh - Kevin Shattenkirk
Once again, this was a bit of a hard decision. On the left side, Matt Carle and Braydon Coburn both had a lot more games and more points than McDonagh during the 2010s for the Lightning, Eric Brewer and Jason Garrison also had a second plus more games. But McDonagh is just that good. His 0.45 points per game in the 2010s ranks 6th among the Lightning defensemen.
For the right side, it basically came down to two players on the far end of the spectrum. There was Kurtis Foster who played for the Lightning in 2009-10, so he only has 41 games and 27 points during the decade. Then there was Kevin Shattenkirk who played in 2019-20 and so only had 38 games and 25 points before the decade was up. At 0.66 PPG, they tie for first atop the leader board in that measure. Ultimately, I went with Kevin Shattenkirk here, but felt like it was hard to go wrong with either one.
Ben Bishop - Andrei Vasilevskiy
Like the Hedman-Stralman pairing, this was another one where I didn’t need to look at the stats. The two greatest goaltenders to ever play for the Lightning. Period. There is no argument here. Khabibulin may have won a Cup, but Bishop and Vasilevskiy set and broke records for the franchise. No other goaltenders played more than 100 games for the Lightning during the decade with Dwayne Roloson accumulating the most games with 74.
It’s actually pretty remarkable how similar their numbers were in a lot of ways during the decade.
Bishop had 227 games played, 223 starts, with a 131-64-20 record, a .921 SV%, 2.28 GGA, 17 shutouts, and 7 assists. Vasilevskiy had 236 games played, a 141-68-17 record, .918 SV%, 2.60 GAA, 18 shutouts, and 10 assists. Oh and to complete the similarity, Bishop had 22 PIMs and Vasilevskiy had 26 PIMs.
There’s really no debate here. You can’t pick any one besides these two incredibly talented goaltenders.
Namestnikov is the next highest ranking player in the decade for points that hasn’t made the team. The choice here really came down to him, Ryan Malone, and Jonathan Drouin. Ultimately I picked Namestnikov because he was the first Al Murray draft pick of the decade for the Lightning being drafted in the 1st round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. In 263 games played, he recorded 53 goals, 70 assists, and 123 points.
This one is more of a personal pick than anything else. There were a lot of great picks leftover on the blue line. Among them were Matt Carle, Braydon Coburn, Andrej Sustr, Eric Brewer, and Jason Garrison as players that played big roles for the Lightning during the decade. Pavel Kubina is also a player I considered.
But Girardi ended up getting my pick here. Girardi came to the Lightning after being bought out by the New York Rangers on a two-year contract. There was a lot of teeth gnashing about the pick up, but he turned out to be better than expected. A lot of credit goes to Victor Hedman for making him look better and to Jon Cooper and the coaching staff for appropriately limiting his minutes to get the most effective version of Girardi as possible. On top of that, Girardi was a great locker room presence. A light-hearted and funny player, you could always see him laughing, smiling, and cutting it up with his teammates during warm-ups as a reminder to his teammates that hockey is supposed to be fun.
As noted earlier, Roloson is the next best goaltender that played with the Lightning during the 2010s. His stats aren’t the prettiest, especially because he went off the cliff of old age after his first partial season with the Lightning. He did lead the Lightning to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011 though which was pretty awesome.