Quick Strikes: Lightning trying to trade Slater Koekkoek or Braydon Coburn, per report

Joe Smith’s tweet indicates that Erik Cernak’s performance in camp might have bumped him up the lineup.

Koekkoek or Coburn or Cernak, oh my

(Intro by loserpoints)

The Bolts are attempting to move one of Slater Koekkoek or Braydon Coburn to make room for Erik Cernak, according to Joe Smith of The Athletic. He dropped this interesting nugget on Twitter during the third period of last night’s game against the Panthers.

The rumor creates more questions than answers. Cernak has been impressive in camp, but giving him another year of top-pair minutes in Syracuse while serving as the first call-up in case of injury seemed to make the most sense. If the Lightning are looking to accelerate that timeline, that will have implications up and down the roster.

On the top end, it means more Dan Girardi. That’s a concern. He played well in a limited role last season but struggled when given more minutes. Cernak playing would likely mean Girardi on the second pair with Ryan McDonagh.

On the bottom end, it makes the third pair a mystery. If the team trades Koekkoek, would they run a third pair of Mikhail Sergachev and  Erik Cernak? Coaches are usually loathe to pair two young defenders. That would also mean keeping Braydon Coburn in the press box, which seems unlikely as well. If the team trades Coburn, that brings us back to a third pair of Sergachev and Cernak.

The other option in the event of a trade would be to run seven defenders. But if that’s the plan, why not just keep everyone and put Koekkoek in the press box? The team carried eight defenders for most of last season and it seemed to work well.

Whatever the case, this will make the next few days more interesting than we expected. The Julien BriseBois era is off to a running start.


The Lightning won their last preseason game of the season 3-2 over the Florida Panthers in Sunrise. The two teams will meet again next Saturday in Tampa to start the Lightning’s regular season.

The game was even on the shot clock and both teams had leads at different times in the game. Cory Conacher opened the scoring in the first period beating Roberto Luongo following a nice pass from Danick Martel. Jonathan Huberdeau answered back moments later tying the game for the Panthers.

Florida took their first lead of the game in the second period on a power play goal by Mike Hoffman. Victor Hedman took the penalty attempting to stop Denis Malgin from having a clean shot at Andrei Vasilevskiy following a turnover by Martel.

The third period belonged to the Bolts as they took control of the game and reclaimed the lead. Matthieu Joseph might have secured his spot on the opening night roster with the game tying unassisted goal. The goal was his fourth of the preseason and gave him eight total points. JT Miller scored the game-winner with just over six minutes left but the credit for the goal goes to Mikhail Sergachev. He hit Miller with a perfect pass at the backdoor using the forward’s stick to redirect the puck into the net past Luongo.

The Bolts

Speaking of timely articles, Eugene from THW wrote this one yesterday: Lightning Found a Winner in Erik Cernak [THW]

However, what sets Cernak apart in Tampa Bay’s prospect pipeline isn’t his scoring acumen, but his true defensive potential. See, the franchise already has two young defensemen with high offensive upside in Mikhail Sergachev and Cal Foote. What the Lightning lack is a standout defense-first prospect to pair with them...

I don’t know about you guys, but I hate our team being considered a front runner. I’d rather be an underdog.

Will Lightning Strike Again? - NHL Atlantic Division Preview [Winners and Whiners]

Tampa Bay is considered to be a frontrunner to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals this season. The Lightning brings back all of the core that pushed the Capitals to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals last season. In that series, Tampa Bay led the series 3-2 but went frigid after that. The Lightning couldn’t light the lamp in either of the final two games of the series, which sent Washington on to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Puck Drop Preview: 2019 Stanley Cup Final Predictions [LWOH]

The Tampa Bay Lightning are known to have a deep roster. Coming off a career season, Andrei Vasilevskiy will look to continue that success. Looked at as the runaway favourite to win the cup this season, the Lightning has the core to do so. With Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman leading the way, it would be no shock to see the Lightning make it to the end.

The Prospects

Martin Ouellette assigned to Solar Bears from Lightning [Solar Bears]

The Orlando Solar Bears have announced that goaltender Martin Ouellette has been reassigned to the team by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Orlando’s NHL affiliate. Ouellette was signed to an American Hockey League contract by the Syracuse Crunch – Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate – on June 27.

Syracuse Crunch team preview: The coaches. [Raw Charge]

In his two years with Syracuse, his team has amassed a regular season record of 84-46-10-12. It’s assumed that Groulx will soon be receiving an NHL call up himself, so Crunch fans would be well advised to enjoy having his leadership around while they can.

The Game

Introducing “Even-Strength,” a breakthrough in the world of women’s hockey analytics [The Ice Garden]

“I hope the site encourages more and more people to start getting involved in women’s hockey and statistics — the statistics are there now if you have a question,” Longmuir shared. “Before you had to do a lot of legwork ... there’s so much legwork you have to do every single time you have an analytics question.”

Get ready for a breakout season from Tyson Jost [Mile High Hockey]. Do we have to?

Now, coming into the 2018-19 season, Jost looks like a totally new player. He looks healthy, confident and ready to be the catalyst for a second scoring line that the Avalanche desperately need.

Where does Gritty rank among NHL mascots? Ask a mascot-obsessed 6-year-old. [The Athletic, paid content]

18. Thunderbug, Tampa Bay Lightning: When I was 3, the Blackhawks played the Lightning Bugs (sic) for the Stanley Cup. I rooted for the Lightning Bugs because I liked the Tesla coils they have there. It was a circle generator of electricity. When I was in my mommy’s tummy, I heard the Tesla coils in person.

McDavid, Boeser, McAvoy among best players 23 and under [NHL.com]

You’ll never believe #1!