Quick Strikes: What kind of contract will Jonathan Drouin command?

Examining Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin’s next contract, GM Steve Yzerman is confident that he will re-sign all the RFAs, and the Crunch lose in Game 1 of the Calder Cup FInals.

The Bolts

What will Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin’s next contract look like? “Blessed with slick hands, smooth skating, exceptional vision and wicked finishing skills, Drouin could end up being a generational talent. There aren’t many players blessed with his skill set on the market right now and Yzerman and [Drouin’s agent Allen] Walsh both know that.” [FanRag Sports]

2016-17 Season Breakdown: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Arizona Coyotes. “Losing in two different ways to Arizona was a summary of all that went wrong with Tampa Bay’s season. After the loss of Stamkos, Cooper tried to play a different style of hockey that emphasized shot suppression and low-scoring games; it did not work at first due to shaky goaltending, and after playing so many games this way, the defense gradually started to give up more shots toward the end of the season. Verdict: These two games can easily be pegged as the reasons why Tampa Bay missed the playoffs, so yeah, they hurt like a *****.” [Raw Charge]

LOOK HOW ADORABLE! Nikita Kucherov and Nikita Nesterov posing together at the age of 18 - the year that both were drafted to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Fan poster Michael Wax stops by to explain the trade tree of an oft-forgotten member of the Stanley Cup winning Lightning team, Brad Lukowich. “In his 12 years in the NHL, Lukowich was traded 7 times... However, one trade in particular of his had a very large impact on the Lightning that can still be felt today, and it was the one where he left town.” [Raw Charge]

“Voting for the Final Four in the Best of the Bolts' Elite Eight starts at noon on Friday, June 2 and ends at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, June 5. You can vote as many times as you'd like for your favorite play in each matchup.” [Tampa Bay Lightning]

Yzerman remains confident Lightning can sign all of their RFAs.  “The Lightning are sure to be pressed against the salary cap and have three significant restricted free agents that are going to need new contracts this summer: Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Jonathan Drouin.” [NBC Sports]

Palat is back to training for the upcoming season. (Is it October yet?)

Summer training with @trainingacademy_polasek @radekfaksa12 👍

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Four Lightning Players Vegas Fans Should Know: Alex Killorn, Braydon Coburn, Slater Koekkoek, and Jake Dotchin. “I’m sure Yzerman would love to shed the seven-year, $31 million contract that Killorn was inked to just last summer. I don’t necessarily think [Vegas Golden Knights GM George] McPhee is opposed to taking on a contract like that. But probably not for a player like Killorn.” [The Hockey Writers]

2004 Lightning Stanley Cup Champion André Roy appears to really be enjoying the playoffs this year.

Tampa Bay Is Ready to Shine for 2018 All-Star Game. “The city is ready to firmly bring itself into the discussion for best hockey city in America. It may not have the history of a Detroit or Chicago, but it represents what all NHL franchises want to be. A franchise that represents both a sports team and a valued member of the community.” [The Hockey Writers]

Speaking of All-Star Game, the Lightning’s first ever All-Star was Brian Bradley who continues to be actively involved in the Tampa Bay area. He stopped by local company BlueGrace Logistics to explain how to set up a power play.

The Prospects

Calder Cup Finals Game 1: Syracuse Crunch lose 3-2 to Grand Rapids Griffins

The Crunch gave up a last-minute power play goal to lose in heartbreaking fashion to the Griffins. “What happens when the league’s most penalized team takes on the team with the best power play in the league? It’s safe to say we found out the answer to that question as the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Syracuse Crunch, 3-2, in the first game of the Calder Cup Finals on Friday night.” [Raw Charge]

On the bright side, Anthony Cirelli looked solid in his first professional hockey playoff appearance. He joined the team just one day prior to being put in the lineup. “Anthony was a good player at the junior level and he had a great tournament at Christmas (in the World Juniors). He's used to playing big games,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “(He) convinced me yesterday at practice, the way he practiced, the way he carried himself. I thought tonight he was one of our best players.” [Syracuse.com]

As nice as it is to see younger players succeed, the Crunch have relied heavily on their veterans for guidance. “They’re showing the way. They’re calm,” Groulx said of his veteran players and their importance to the team’s run to the Finals. “Their composure [and] the confidence they have is very good for our team.” [The Hockey Writers]

Groulx pushes right buttons for Crunch amid Lightning turmoil. “While an injection of NHL-seasoned talent can provide a significant boost, the wrong coach and/or the wrong mix of players can quickly implode and end any hopes of a playoff run. ‘I’m going to tell you something here,’ Groulx replied when asked how he managed so many personalities. ‘It was not easy. I thought we had two or three practices to incorporate six or seven guys. Those guys were in Tampa for 25, 35 or 40 games.’” [Sportsnet]

If the Crunch are able to succeed, the Calder Cup would return to Syracuse for the first time in eighty years. “They say timing is everything in life.  After 23 years since returning to the American Hockey League and 80 years since last claimed here, it's time for the Syracuse Crunch to add another Calder Cup banner to the War Memorial. Just four more wins separate the Crunch from book ending the first-ever Calder Cup title with the latest.” [Syracuse.com]

The Game

“The Rangers were bounced in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year, which has given forward Mika Zibanejad time to focus on some of his other passions. As solid as Zibanejad is on the ice — he had 37 points in 54 games this year — he also is apparently quite good at DJing, as evidenced by the release of his debut single on Friday. The 24-year-old put out an EDM track called ‘Forever’ and, honestly, it’s not bad.” [Fox Sports]

Okay. Now that you’ve listened to something good, it’s time to listen to something truly terrible. Billy Ray Cyrus (famous for “Achy Breaky Heart” and being the father of Miley Cyrus) has written a song that nobody wants to hear. By the way, he pulled his original song offline and re-uploaded this “better” version. Prepare to cringe.

On a more serious note, we rely on our environment to give us everything we need - food, water, and shelter. Take some time to learn a little bit more about how it works and what we need to do to preserve its function. It’s important for us and for future generations.

Do you believe in climate change? Whether you're super pumped that we are putting 'Americans first' or you are absolutely outraged at the idea that we are taking yet another step backwards in dealing with a major global problem, the only way to solve this argument is to try and set your own agenda aside and see how this affects everybody. The only lie we tell ourselves is that we are more special than other life forms on the planet. Well, we're not. Even if we weren't responsible for any major climate catastrophes heading our way, shouldn't we still do our part to preserve what we have left? The same way that we shouldn't wait till our bodies break down completely to start doing the right things to stay healthy, let's not wait till it's too late to do something. I am not saying I am perfectly 'green', but the first step is to keep an open mind and try to learn what you don't already know.

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