Quick Strikes: Lightning founder Phil Esposito is getting his own podcast

and Erik Karlsson’s baby announcement is the greatest thing on planet Earth right now.

The Bolts

Should the Tampa Bay Lightning trade Tyler Johnson? [Raw Charge]

“The most obvious reason behind trading Johnson would be the $5 million in cap relief that shedding his contract would provide. With the gargantuan contracts of Stamkos and Hedman, as well as the future large deals for Kucherov and Vasilevskiy, Yzerman can ill-afford to continue handing out lucrative deals such as those contracts of Callahan, Johnson, and Killorn.”

Next up, the other Johnson...

Erik Johnson, the man who slashed and boarded Vladislav Namestnikov, has been suspended for two games for his actions in the Lightning vs Colorado Avalanche game on Saturday night. [Mile High Hockey]

“Given the severity of the hit and the fact that Johnson’s stick doesn’t come up to hit Namestnikov in the back until the puck is off of the forward’s stick, it’s not altogether surprising to see him get multiple games, even as a relatively clean player.”

Unlike our neighbours to the south, we’re proud of our former little winger. See you Tuesday, Marshmellow!

The Godfather of the Tampa Bay Lightning Phil Esposito is starting his own podcast! Good luck Mr. E! We know you’re going to do great. [CLNS Media]

“I’m really excited to be working with Jimmy [Murphy] and doing this podcast,” Esposito said. “It’s new to me; I know it’s not new to most, but I’m going to enjoy myself!”

As the first semester of school comes to a close (something yours trely was very pleased to see) the marks for how each NHL team fared are in! The Bolts, obviously, got top grades. [The Hockey News]

Arizona Coyotes: Not to pile on, but they’re the worst team in the league.

Buffalo Sabres: Wide right.

Ottawa Senators: You know it’s bad when Karlsson stops scoring.”

The Prospects

Ty Loney has been sent back to the ECHL Adirondack Thunder. [Syracuse Crunch]

“Loney, 25, appeared in six games with the Crunch. He has skated in 20 games with the Thunder this season, posting 21 points (13g, 8a). He appeared in 24 AHL games last season with the Chicago Wolves and Albany Devils registering 10 points (4g, 6a)”

Taylor Raddysh is one of seven players returning for Team Canada at the World Juniors. As one of the best players on the team Raddysh is going to be leaned on heavily for this tournament. [CBC]

“The 19-year-old forward is one of four Tampa Bay Lightning prospects on this year's squad. Raddysh knows that it's one thing to share this experience with your junior teammates let alone your potential future NHL teammates for years to come and from that, there's a mutual bond.”

Christopher Paquette was the only Lightning affiliated player to suit up last night. Paquette was held pointless in Peterborough’s defeat to Hamilton. [Bolt Prospects]

“Former Maple Leaf prospect Nikita Korostelev scored twice for the Petes, but the Bulldogs lit the lamp four times in the first period and cruised to a 5-2 victory over a struggling Peterborough team. As one-time East Division leaders, the Petes are now winless in their last five, and have only won three games in their last 10.”

Canada West defeated Team USA to win the U19 Junior A Challenge gold medal on Sunday. Lightning prospects Cole Guttman and Nicklaus Perbix played on the team that recieved the silver medal. [Newfoundland Telegram]

The Game

Melinda and Erik Karlsson revealed the gender of their first child in the coolest way possible. Erik’s reaction nearly made me cry with happiness. Gosh I hope he comes to the Bolts. [RMNB]

Our hearts exploded with that puck. We can’t wait to meet you baby BOY 💙

A post shared by Melinda Karlsson (@mel.karlsson) on

Vancouver’s Chosen One is down. Brock Boeser blocked a slapshot early in the second period and “couldn’t put any weight on it.” This is a Death Star-exploding calibre blow to the Canucks’ season that has been going so well as of late. [Canucks Army]

Captain Alex Pietrangelo is back for the St. Louis Blues after missing four games with a lower-body injury. [ESPN]

“He will be available for Sunday's game against the Winnipeg Jets. Pietrangelo has been out since suffering the injury in the first period of a 6-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Dec. 9.”

If two centers could play all 60 minutes of a hockey game, the Pittsburgh Penguins would be jut fine. Unfortunately, doing so would cause Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin’s legs to literally fall off so the Pens need to look for some depth via trade. [Sportsnet]

“Dealing within the same conference likely isn’t something the Maple Leafs brass are too keen on doing, but there’s no denying that the framework for a potential Toronto-Pittsburgh deal is there.”

Highlight of the Night: Patrick Kane with a clinical breakaway goal, placing him 5th all-time in Chicago Blackhawks goal-scoring.