The sunshine state is known for being hot and the Tampa Bay Lightning were just that during the 2018-2019 regular season. Once the playoffs started though they cooled off and were out before anyone could blink an eye.
First Key Game: October 10th, 2019 vs. The Toronto Maple Leafs.
Odds to win the division
11:10 (1st overall) (via Betway)
Is this a bet worth taking?
No. If you are going to gamble normally you want to see some value and there is none here. While the Lightning had a record tying season last year, they are in a very talented division and injuries are unpredictable.
Keys To The Season
Story to watch
Will Brayden Point‘s late start cost the Bolts in the standings? After undergoing hip surgery Point will miss the first month of the season. After comining with Nikita Kucherov for 220 points which put them second in the NHL for a tandem, behind Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers.
The Lightning moved out money in the offseason to sign Point to a longer deal but a bridge deal will work for both sides, after the forward told the Montreal Canadiens not even to submit an offer sheet. The Lightning’s center depth is rather shallow, even with skilled young players such as Anthony Cirelli and Mathieu Joseph.
Player to watch
With the Lightning trading Adam Erne to Detroit for a 4th round pick, they also opened up space in their depth lines. That is where Alex Barre-Boulet could step up and fill a need for the Lightning. In his first year as a professional Barre-Boulet put up 68 points in 74 games with Syracuse Crunch. Another undrafted player could turn into a gem for the Lightning and if Point does miss time while getting his contract sorted, this would give the big club added depth at center.
A sweetheart deal. Hear me out yes Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov are on team friendly deals but they have three players in the 5 million dollar range that are not pulling their weight. Former triplet members Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat are two of those players and Alex Killorn is the third.
The Bolts will need to move at least one or two of these players if these hope to sign new deals for some of their younger players such as Mikhail Sergachev prior to Andrei Vasilevskiy‘s contract extension kicking in. The trick will be moving one of these players without having to shed considerable assets.
If the Lightning were an animal, what would they be?
An elephant. They know there is an elephant in the room and it needs to be discussed. This team lost general manager Steve Yzerman to the Detroit Red Wings, this has been the first major shakeup with a team that has had high expectations the past couple of years. If they don’t make their playoffs count this season, John Cooper or a member of the Bolts corps may pay the price.