Quick Strikes: Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos should be ready for Training Camp

Nationally televised games, goalie equipment, and Bryan Bickell’s story

The Bolts

Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times asked Lightning GM Steve Yzerman how captain Steven Stamkos’ recovery from knee surgery last November has progressed: “GM Steve Yzerman has told me he expects Stamkos to be ready to go for camp and the start of next season.” [Tampa Bay Times]

NBC has announced the games for their national broadcast dates for the Unites States. The Tampa Bay Lightning will be playing six times on national TV. “The Lightning are included in NBC’s exclusive Wednesday Night Rivalry Series as their November 29th tilt against Boston will be shown at 7:30pm on NBCSN.” [Raw Charge]

For the third day in a row, Andrei Vasilevskiy’s mask is a thing of beauty.

17-year-old Tampa Bay Lightning fan Tony Colton passed away Sunday night, after losing his 7-year battle with cancer. “Colton was a fixture at Amalie Arena in recent seasons, and was an inspiration for Jon Cooper's ‘Catch for Kids,’ which raised money for pediatric cancer.”

“Tony was a special kid. The courage and bravery he showed every day was truly inspiring.” - Ryan Callahan

“You will be greatly missed. So tough to hear. Tony was a true inspiration and friend. The amount of courage you showed is incredible. Tony, thank you for you being you.” - Tyler Johnson

The Prospects

Like a dagger into my heart. #FEARTHEFISH

Video feature: Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Taylor Raddysh his Team Canada teammates are looking for redemption at the World Junior Championships this winter.

Top 25 Under 25

It’s time we say goodbye to another year of the Top 25 Under 25 rankings. It was an honor, friends.

#1: In his last year of eligibility, the man they call “KUUUUUUCH” takes home the title of Top Lightning player under the age of 25. “Nikita Kucherov established himself among the elite forwards of the NHL in 2016-17. The 2011 second-round draft pick broke out with a campaign where he at times carried an injury-riddled Lightning line up.” [Raw Charge]

#2: Andrei Vasilevskiy is ready to take the reins of the starting goalie job and run with it for a long time. “After taking over for Ben Bishop last season, the 23-year old spent 50 games in the crease for the Bolts - add to that another nine games at the World Championship and you’re looking at a significantly increased workload from the 36 games he had combined between Syracuse and Tampa in the 2015-16 season.” [Raw Charge]

#3: Brayden Point is going to play in the NHL next year. The current raging debate is whether the 79th overall pick in 2014 will be slotted at center or the right wing. “Point would represent a much larger upside as the second line right winger over being the third line center with Gourde on the second line. If he is on the second line and paired up with capable offensive partners, expecting 50 to 60 points is a very reasonable projection.” [Raw Charge]

Honorable Mentions: Yesterday we reviewed the players in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization who did not make our top 25 list. “The common theme with all of them is ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ With five of the seven being NCAA or NCAA-bound, they’re just not as visible. The same goes for Sosunov playing in Russian junior hockey. As we go on over the next couple years and we see more of what these players can do, I expect we’ll start to see them rise in the rankings.” We did player profiles for players ranked #26-#34, if you are interested. [Raw Charge]

The Game

Full disclosure, I was very critical of Bryan Bickell’s contract and play. Reading Bickell’s Players Tribune story was a very humbling experience. “I sat at my locker with my gear on and my head down, asking myself the same question I’d been asking after every single game for the past two months: Why do I suck?” [The Players Tribune]

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist got some new pads today. I love the Spiderman touch, very nice.

The Buffalo Sabres have signed recently acquired defenseman Nathan Beaulieu to a two year extention. “Beaulieu avoids arbitration by signing this deal, and his cap hit of $2.4 million per season is a raise over the $925,000 number he had last year, likely a sign of faith by the Sabres that they believe that the 24-year old blueliner will play a significant role in their plans over the next few years.” [Die by the Blade]