NHL Team Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning have been one of the best franchises in a while as they are coming off back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships. They finished last season with a 36-17-3 record for 75 points, and that was good for third in the Central Division. They have one goal in mind: be the first franchise to three-peat since the New York Islanders from 1980-1983.
The Tampa Bay Lightning made a few additions throughout the offseason as they signed three players in free agency. They first signed goaltender Brian Elliott, a career 256-155-49, while giving up 2.53 goals per game. He should be a nice veteran goalie for when they want to give Andrei Vasilevskiy a day off.
They also signed defenseman Zach Bogosian and right-winger Corry Perry to make a veteran impact on the roster. Both have played double-digit seasons in the NHL and know the mission statement.
The Lightning had to deal with the salary cap implications and deal away a good amount of talented players. Barclay Goodrow was shipped to the Rangers, Tyler Johnson was traded to the Blackhawks, Mitchell Stephens was traded to the Red Wings for a draft pick, and Spencer Martin was sent to the Canucks for future considerations.
They lost Yanni Gourde to the Seattle Kraken, Blake Coleman to the Calgary Flames, and goalie Curtis McElhinney’s retirement goalie. They lost a lot of talented pieces and tried to retain who they could without putting themselves in salary cap hell.
One of the most important players in hockey, let alone the Lightning, would be goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. He has a career 191-84-19 record while giving up 2.52 goals per game and is saving 91.9 percent of shots against him.
On the offensive side of the game, center Brayden Point has been critical to their success as of late. He finished last season with 48 points (23 goals, 25 assists) while averaging 18:26 on the ice in 56 games.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have the second-highest over/under for points at 107.5 this season. However, I think they lost too much talent to end up that high. I think they end up in the 91-96 point range this season, but the losses of Yanni Gourde and Barclay Goodrow especially are going to sting.
Looking at the odds to win the Stanley Cup Championship for a third consecutive season, the Lightning is trailing the Colorado Avalanche at +700. Although I don’t think they are the most talented team in the NHL, that is pretty good odds for a team almost guaranteed to make a postseason run and be a serious contender.
* All odds provided by Action247 Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
**All views expressed are my own. My picks are my own and are not a guarantee, bet at your own risk.