Quick Strikes: Mathieu Joseph shines in disappointing 4-1 preseason loss for Tampa Bay Lightning

And OMG the Ottawa Senators are so sad.

The Preseason

The Tampa Bay Lightning were handily beaten by the Carolina Hurricanes in their preseason game of the year. The Canes beat the Bolts 4-1 at AMALIE Arena, Andrei Vasilevskiy taking the loss in 60 minutes of play. The game wasn’t particularly close, with Carolina out-shooting Tampa Bay 17-35, including managing an embarassingly low three shots on goal in the second period.

Mathieu Joseph got the only goal of the game for the Lightning, a power play goal assisted by Taylor Raddysh and Tyler Johnson. Raddysh and Joseph look like a promising pair and something Benoit Groulx and the Syracuse Crunch coaching staff might look to keep going full-time.

The Lines

Since it would be cruel for me to have to write a full recap of this game, here are the main takeaways from the game in point form:

  • Joseph and Raddysh were very good in this game; Joseph especially showed off his pace and playmaking ability well and even drew a penalty for his efforts. The two, along with Johnson, helped drive the Lightning’s play style, which was to be fast and dynamic. Joseph, with Johnson, was even able to get a short-handed chance (yes, he can penalty kill).
  • Despite all my prayers, Dominik Masin might not be ready for the NHL just yet, he had a rough game. Alan noted to me that this might just be a product of nerves more than anything else. It’s only the first preseason game and it would be cruel to push judgement so soon. /

And again.

  • The defense, on the whole, wasn’t great. Along with the forwards, they were unable to get the puck out of the defensive zone, giving the Hurricanes lots of chances.
  • Vasy got the entire game. Perhaps there was a plan to give Connor Ingram some time in net, but this interesting observation by GeoFitz might have been the reason they stuck with Vasy for the full game./
  • Jon Cooper after the game shared that he liked 2018 top pick Gabriel Fortier’s play, especially for a kid who was just drafted. He also noted that Joseph is well on his way to checking off all the boxes NHL coaches need out of players at this level. His time in the NHL might be soon. /

The Video

The Bolts

In a radio interview with Sportsnet650 in Vancouver, Elliotte Friedman dropped a bomb when he said that Jake Dotchin might have showed up to training camp “extremely out of shape” and having a body fat percentage of 25%. Could the Lightning have leaked this information as a PR move, especially with the team currently trying to terminate Dotchin’s contract? It will be very interesting to see what else comes out about this whole situation in the coming days and weeks.

Tampa Bay Lightning waive Jake Dotchin citing “material breach of contract”

Quick Strikes: Jake Dotchin violated an “unspecified team rule”

Alex Volkov has been impressing at Bolts camp. Captain Steven Stamkos even went as far to say that “he’s a guy that at a moments notice could be a guy that’s relied on this level.”

Alexander Volkov has gone from off-the-radar pick to bona fide Lightning prospect

Alex Killorn is back to doing Alex Killorn things...

And in other news...

Connor Ingram is back to doing Connor Ingram things...

Stamkos, Vasilevskiy, Nikita Kucherov, and Victor Hedman have all made The Hockey News’ Top 50 NHLers list. [Tampa Bay Times]

Right wing Nikita Kucherov ranks highest, at No. 3, followed in short order by defenseman Victor Hedman (No. 5). Center Steven Stamkos is No. 20, goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy No. 25.

Which makes four players in the top 25, when you think about it.

The Game

Matthew Peca was low on the Lightning depth chart last year, he now has a chance to play higher in the lineup with the Montreal Canadiens. I wonder why? [Sportsnet]

I’m not going to lie, I did a double take when I saw the Montreal Canadienshad signed Matthew Peca to a two-year, $2.6 million contract on July 1.

Sure, this was a team that desperately needed to add centres in the off-season. But signing a five-foot-eight, 25-year-old who had 20 games of NHL experience to a one-way, two-year deal seemed like a borderline foolish decision to me.

Out with the old, win with the new! Hopefully.

If Andrei Vasilevskiy was still 23-years-old, the Lightning would be much higher in Corey Pronman’s ranking of the NHL’s under-23 cores. Alas, they slot in 20th. This is still a good piece by Pronman about what could be the top teams of the future (and the Edmonton Oilers). [The Athletic]

Tampa had a giant wave of quality youth a few years ago that helped propel it to contender status. It still has some nice young pieces. Point is a great top-six center, and Sergachev is a dynamic talent with upside. The farm system has a lot of guys who I think will play, but probably won’t be major parts of a good team.

The NHL had a bizarre offseason, the Lightning even got in on the action after the news that Steve Yzerman was stepping down at the peak of his powers. Down Goes Brown (who is now with The Athletic) breaks it all down. [The Athletic]

Last week’s out-of-nowhere announcement that Steve Yzerman was stepping down as GM. Julien BriseBois should do fine, but this isn’t the sort of thing that typically happens to Cup contenders on the eve of training camp. (Also, BriseBois’s first major move as GM was to pick what could end up being a major fight with the NHLPA.)

Preseason games have started and William Nylander of the Leafs still doesn’t have a contract. What’s going on? [Pension Plan Puppets]

I’ve been married to the optimistic stance that the contract will be completed at some point. Regardless of the name behind it, Nylander is an RFA and the Leafs have the control in this situation. But this assumed hold-out by Nylander’s camp isn’t doing him any favours (unless he’s going through many training montages a day in Sweden).

Dallas Stars fans need to come to terms with the fact that no one watches them. [Defending Big D]

They did improve in 2017-2018, however. Their average rating last season was 0.71, and was the second highest improvement in the NHL (+88%) compared to the season before according to Sports Business Daily. Improvements were driven, in part, by the fact that the Stars were in a playoff fight for much of the season (until that terrible, no good stretch they had to then stumble into the end of the year).

And we end with the Ottawa Senators. A Tale in Two Tweets.

Oh, God. It’s even worse hearing it from his mouth.

Okay, three tweets.