Quick Strikes: Tampa Bay Lightning as Game of Thrones Characters, and 90’s Hockey in Florida

Stories from the Lightning’s inaugural season, analytics, and more!

The Bolts

Bolts by the Bay assigned a Game of Thrones character for seven Tampa Bay Lightning players. Write in the comments who best describes your favourite player! “Ned Stark was a solid leader who cared not only for his own family but for the people of Winterfell as well. Ned was loyal to his people, almost to a fault.” (you can go through the names with the arrow keys on your keyboard) [Bolts by the Bay]

This is a great blast to the past piece by The Hockey News talking about the 90’s expansion into Florida and what it was like for the people involved. They talk about growing the game in a place that had never seen hockey, introducing fans to all the traditions in the game, and what the dressing room cultures were in the first season. “The first game we played in was against the Chicago Blackhawks, and Chris Kontos had a hat trick. I don’t think people realized they could throw a hat on the ice.” - Brian Bradley [THN]

Top 25 Under 25

#15: Dennis Yan (who was acquired courtesy of Eric Brewer) will be making the jump to pro this season after a very successful junior career. “In each of his three years in juniors, Dennis Yan has put up more than a point per game, 64 in his draft year, 69 the following year, and 75 this past year, in 59, 62, and 64 regular season games, respectively. He has also added 20 goals and 8 assists in 33 playoff games across that same time span for the Shawinigan Cataractes.” [Raw Charge]

#16: Cedric Paquette has been been improving every year since he was drafted 101st overall in 2012. This is the year we find out of Ceddy has what it takes to be a full time NHLer, or not. “In this being another contract year, I’d expect Paquette to have a really good season. When he’s on top of his game, he’s an agitator who can chip in on the scoresheet from time to time. His best assets are his penalty killing and ability to get under the skin of the opposition.” [Raw Charge]

#17: 2017 14th overall pick Cal Foote comes into the Tampa Bay Lightning organization with an NHL pedigree. Everyone is convinced he will be an NHLer but some question his upside. Tom Hunter argues how good Adam Foote’s son can be — “I truly think he has the potential to be a top-pairing defender in the NHL for a decade. Foote spent the season playing a major role for his Kelowna team, he was the only draft-eligible defender to play for team WHL during the Canada/Russia Series, and he trailed only Conor Timmins in primary assists among draft eligible CHL defenders.” [Raw Charge]

The Game

This might be a few days old but I’m going to add it in anyway. Dom Luszczyszyn of The Hockey News wrote about how much star power (or sometimes a lack thereof) can affect a team’s success. There are a lot of numbers in here but Dom does a great job of making it easy to understand. “Over the past decade, the best player on each Cup-winning team has been better than 99 percent of the league at their position on average, with the worst player at 97.7 percent. That’s pretty similar to the NBA as it essentially equates to an MVP calibre season.” (Note: Stamkos isn’t as high as he probably should be simply because there isn’t as much data on him due to his injuries) [THN]

Arctic Ice Hockey asks the question: Can the Winnipeg Jets find their way back to the playoffs? “They have not committed too much money to any one player, although they could have paid Dmitry Kulikov less than they did. They went out and found a starting goalie in Steve Mason and most importantly they let go of players like Mark Stuart and Chris Thorburn who had been the favourites of the coaching staff for years.” [Arctic Ice Hockey]

Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy examines how NHL coaches are getting paid and how this raise in the tops salaries are affecting everyone else. “Mike Babcock’s $6.25 million annual salary infamously reset the bar for NHL head coaches. ‘A new arms race among head coaches has commenced. The starting gun has gone off,’ agent Allan Walsh told the Canadian Press in 2015, after the deal was announced.” [Puck Daddy]

Rachel Cohen from Russian Machine Never Breaks has made some amazing sigils for each NHL team in honour of Game of Thrones’ return. If you like her work, go support her! [RMNB]

As a Leafs fan, I feel obligated to add this. The San Jose Sharks have all of my respect.