Quick Strikes: The Tampa Bay Lightning are slumping

Star Wars night, Strome and Jost called up, and forward depth

The Bolts

Winning 15 of their first 19 games was easy. Losing 3 of their last 4 games the real challenge for the Tampa Bay Lightning. How can they snap out of it? [Tampa Bay Times]

"We knew it was going to happen. We just didn’t know when," wing Alex Killorn said. "A lot of us in here are veteran guys that have been in the league long enough to know you’re not going to keep up that pace for a whole season."

The Force is strong with this team, yes.

The Lightning’s star players, Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov, are losing on the score sheet to the stars of their most recent opponents, Crosby’s Penguins and Ovechkin’s Capitals. But the puck will start going in, eventually. [Sportsnet]

“For the first time all season, the Tampa Bay Lightning appear to be in a rut. With a loss to the Penguins, the Lighting have lost two in a row for the first time all season and also three of their last four games. Nikita Kucherov doesn’t have a goal in any of those four games.”

Not only are the Bolts’ two superstars struggling, but so is Tyler Johnson. But his feeling of being “a little bit off” has yet to deter him this season. [Tampa Bay Times]

With the Lightning often going with 11 forwards, Johnson said it was a tough adjustment playing on the swing third line, which includes Alex Killorn and a rotating wing (typically from the top two lines). "It’s something I’ve never done before," Johnson said. "You want to talk to your linemates after a shift on the bench, and one of them is already on the ice."

The Prospects

The Syracuse Crunch are recieving one of their best players back from the big club with the reassignment of Cory Conacher back to the AHL. [Raw Charge]

The bad news? We could probably use some more goals like the one Cory scored on Saturday.

The good? It appears J.T. Brown is ready to return. This means an organization that is short on forward depth (at both levels) is getting some much needed bodies back.

“With Tye McGinn traded, Gabriel Dumont lost on waivers, Alex Gallant suspended, and Erik Condra hurt, Syracuse has been playing short-handed up front. Defenseman Daniel Walcott was shifted to forward for the past two and a half games.”

Quick aside, I can’t help but think that Lightning management will try and find a more permanent solution to their depth issue that goes farther than waiver claims. It wouldn’t be a waste of assets to acquire some forward depth heading into a season that you hope will extend into a long playoff run.

People (Montreal) are talking about stealing Tampa Bay Lightning Assistant GM Julien Brisebois if when current Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin gets kicked to the curb. [Fan Rag Sports]

“Hypothetically speaking – entirely hypothetical because nothing has happened yet – but my understanding is that if a team wanted to talk to Julien BriseBois about being the general manager of their team in-season, that team can ask the Tampa Bay Lightning for permission. And there’s only two factors at the other end. From the Tampa perspective, one is does Julien BriseBois’ contract even allow him to contemplate anything in mid-season. There are some executives in the National Hockey League who clearly have it in their contracts that they’re not able to contemplate outside offers in-season.” - Bob McKenzie, TSN

Lightning top prospect, Taylor Raddysh, scored his 100th career OHL goal on Saturday night. Awesome milestone for Erie Otters playmaker!

The Game

Two top prospects, who have taken a little bit longer than their peers to find their way to the show, got called up on Sunday:

The Arizona Coyotes have called up the 3rd overall pick from 2015, Dylan Strome. [Five for Howling]

“While many people were disappointed with Strome getting sent down initially, it was great to see him find success in Tucson and it kept hope alive that he would be able to contribute at an NHL level in the near future. With his first call up of his professional career Strome has a chance to show that he is ready to compete at the highest level.”

And the Colorado Avalanche have called up their 10th overall pick from 2016 in Tyson Jost. [Mile High Hockey]

“In four games with the Rampage, Jost had only one assist but he has obviously shown the Avalanche enough to get another chance in the lineup. The Avs rookie will join the team in time to get in a couple practices before getting back into the lineup against the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday.”

Hockey players from places you might not always expect. The story of Auston Matthews. “A firsthand look at what it’s like to go from being a hockey-loving kid in the desert to one of the most important young superstars in one of the league’s most passionate markets.” [Sportsnet]

100 years has passed for the NHL. What might the next 100 look like? [SB Nation]

“Let’s go full 17776 on this thing. A global weather event strikes in the next few decades, causing the earth to freeze. The remaining surviving population on earth helps rebuild the NHL, as the world is covered in ice and we as humans need something to entertain ourselves with.”

The Edmonton Oilers are shopping yet another first-overall draft pick. This time its Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. [Sportsnet]

“Nugent-Hopkins is coming off two rather mundane seasons, but in 23 games this year is second on the team in goals with eight and is tied for second in points with 17. The 24-year-old, whom the Oilers selected first overall in 2011, has three more years remaining on his contract.”

In case you missed it... RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS IS STILL ONLY 24-YEARS-OLD AND EDMONTON, A YOUNG TEAM, WANTS TO TRADE HIM. Okay, I’m over it, let’s move on. #LOLoilers

Highlight of the Night: Viktor Arvidsson delays, dangles, and snipes to give the Nashville Predators the lead over the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday. What a dynamic play from a supremely underrated player. The Canes would eventually get the last laugh, however, winning the game in the shootout. [Reddit]