GDHQNHL15_2pg-Tampa Bay Lightning 1

Toronto Maple Leafs Gameday HQ

Offense The Tampa Bay Lightning were the team most affected by the NHL’s new playoff format. Their 101 points were third best in the conference, but all it earned them was a matchup with division foe Montreal Canadiens who finished fourth in the conference with 100 points. Steven Stamkos is a legit star in the NHL but he missed most of last season with a broken leg. That didn’t stop the Lightning from scoring 240 goals and finishing third in the Eastern Conference in that category. In just 37 games, Stamkos managed to put up 25 goals and 40 points. The fact that he returned late last season gives confidence that the team’s new captain will be at his best when the season starts. The biggest splash of last season came when the Lightning swapped captains with the New York Rangers and brought in Ryan Callahan in exchange for Martin St. Louis. Callahan quickly endeared himself to the Tampa Bay fans and players with his hard work and leadership skills. Resigning him was Tampa’s most pressing offseason move. It was a pair of rookies that picked up most of the offensive slack in Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson. Both players were selected as finalists for the Calder Trophy where they finished second and third, respectively, and they each managed to play in all 82 games. Johnson set a Lightning rookie record with 24 goals and was a huge factor even strength and on special teams. Palat finished the season one goal behind Johnson but managed to best him with 59 points. The embarrassment of riches may continue once 19-year old Jonathan Drouin joins the team. The former third overall pick put up a ridiculous 108 points in 46 games for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL is considered one of the best prospects in hockey by many scouts. The Lightning are stacked on offense where veteran Valtteri Filppula score a career high 25 goals and 24-year old Ale Killorn has continued to improve. They’ll also get some production from defenseman Victor Hedman, who had 55 points. Defense The Tampa Bay defense was solid, ranking 11th in the league in goals allowed, and it was a big step up for the unit that ranked 27th the season before. The amazing play of goaltender Ben Bishop and a renewed focus. “It’s a whole team philosophy or concept, a mindset,” GM Steve Yzerman told the Tampa Bay Times. “Championship teams are strong defensively. EASTERN CONFERENCE ATLANTIC DIVISION Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay LIGHTNING Key Additions: Brenden Morrow, Anton Stralman, Brian Boyle, Jason Garrison Key Subtractions: Teddy Purcell, Cedrick Desjardins, Ryan Malone, Tom Pyatt Strengths: Young talent, elite forward and goaltender Weaknesses: Special teams Steve Audette/NHL/Getty Images


Toronto Maple Leafs Gameday HQ
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