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Quick Strikes: Lightning announce rookie tournament with the Capitals and Predators

The Bolts

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced yesterday that the team will once again host a rookie tournament in Estero, Fl. The Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators will also participate this season. Last year’s tournament was cancelled as Germain Arena become a shelter during Hurricane Irma. Here’s hoping that we avoid a repeat weather scenario this year.

The tournament is scheduled for September 8th – 11th. The schedule is as follows:

Saturday, Sept 8         Washington at Nashville             1 p.m.

Sunday, Sept 9           Nashville at Tampa Bay             1 p.m.

Monday, Sept 10        Tampa Bay at Washington         10 a.m.

Tuesday, Sept 11         Nashville at Washington             11:30 a.m.

All games are free and open to the public. Germain Arena is also home to the Florida Everblades of the ECHL so if you live in the Ft. Myers area and are looking for more hockey to watch, go check out the rookie tournament and scout out the best seats for some Everblades games this year.

Get to know new Lightning assistant coach Jeff Halpern a little better in this chat with Bryan Burns at NHL.com [Interview]

Do you know exactly what your role on the Lightning coaching staff will be? Is there a specific group you’ll be working with?

I’ll work with the forwards and I think kind of the exact splits and every detail of the team, we’ll have those conversations over the next month or so. Specifically, I’ll be with the forwards. That’s the group that I’m going to focus most of my attention on.

Someone at this site (might’ve been me) took a deep dive into the recent Ryan McDonagh extension and tried to think through why the team would sign him this summer instead of waiting to see how he performs in a full season in Tampa.

This is where the decision making gets dicey for me. The stats don’t tell me a clean story. It appears that McDonagh’s numbers have started to decline at age 28 but I’m unclear as to what degree. Cane’s model says that the player’s value will be somewhere in the 6 to 6.5 million range over 5 to 6 years if he becomes a free agent.

In this situation, what would help most to guide the decision is more information. If McDonagh was a free agent this summer, the Lightning would have had no choice but to do the best with the info that they had. But that wasn’t the case. They could have taken another year to be sure about how McDonagh is trending.

The Prospects

Matt covered one of the most divisive players in our Top 25 Under 25 series yesterday. Slater Koekkoek is heading into what is likely a make or break year. But with Victor Hedman, McDonagh, and Braydon Coburn all ahead of him on the depth chart, finding consistent ice time is going to be a challenge.

From all of this, I draw that Koekkoek is definitely a player that can provide a positive impact; even though he has seen limited minutes and has a few other areas that bring up some concerns. Additionally, he’s still one of the better skating defenders the Lightning have on the roster. Unfortunately, the limited playing time obfuscates his numbers to a degree. Admittedly, I dropped Koekkoek hard in this season’s rankings because, at 24 years old, I don’t think he is going to drastically improve. Most top four defensemen in the NHL are already at that point by the time they’re 24 (or they’re pushing for it). Sure, there are late bloomers that we can point to, but Koekkoek’s underlying numbers tell two different stories.

The Syracuse Crunch continue to make progress on their off-season arena renovations.

Shane Conacher, younger brother of Crunch and Lightning mainstay Cory Conacher, signed an ECHL contract to rejoin the Adirondack Thunder. He was the Thunder’s leading scorer last year and played 10 games for the Crunch when they needed additional depth.

Conacher, 24, returns to the Thunder after spending last season shuffling between Adirondack and the American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch. While with the Thunder, the Burlington, Ont. native posted professional career highs in goals and assists as he led the team with 63 points (20-43-63) from 55 regular season games played, good for more than a point per game. He added an additional four points (3-1-4) in seven Kelly Cup Playoffs contests.

The Game

Brooks Orpik has had an interesting summer. After winning the Stanley Cup with the Capitals, the team traded him to the Colorado Avalanche along with goaltender Philipp Grubauer. The Avs then immediately bought him out of the final year of his contract. And now, Orpik is returning to the Caps on a one-year deal.

The responses were fun and ranged from calling out the Caps for questionable cap chicanery to pointing out this seems like a lot of effort just to keep a player who was one of the worst in the league according to most metrics.

If you like analytics and systems analysis, make some time for this article. Judy uses manually tracked data to identify power play approaches against different penalty kill and forechecking structures.

In the last post, we looked at individual pass maps for players as well as their /60 pass rates. Now, I’d like to zoom out a bit and try to visualize team and unit tendencies, specifically whether these tendencies changed based on what penalty kill the Terriers are facing. Or maybe not “change” necessarily, but I’d at least like to see whether they’re at the whim of the PK or if they just carry on about their business regardless of who/what they’re up against.

The Jets re-signed restricted free agent defender Tucker Poolman.

Why am I including this news here? Because he has one of the best spoonerisms in the game. Pucker Toolman. Beautiful.

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