Tampa Bay Lightning

Content regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.

Tampa Gives Gabriel Dumont Two More Years

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Gabriel Dumont to a two-year contract worth $650,000 AAV, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today. The first year of the contract is one-way, while the second year is a two-way.

Dumont, 26, skated in 39 games with the Lightning during the 2016-17 season, posting two goals and four points to go along with 29 penalty minutes. He scored his first goal as a Bolt on February 7 against the Los Angeles Kings. The Ville Degelis, Quebec native has skated in 57 career NHL games with Tampa Bay and the Montreal Canadiens, notching three goals and seven points.

The 5-foot-10, 190-pound forward also appeared in 20 games with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, recording five goals and 10 points to go along with 24 penalty minutes. Dumont skated in 22 playoff games with the Crunch, registering five goals and 11 points, helping guide Syracuse to the Calder Cup Final. He has played in 409 career AHL games over seven seasons, notching 97 goals and 213 points to go along with 516 penalty minutes.

Dumont was signed as a free agent by the Lightning on July 1, 2016.

Lightning Extend Conacher on a Two-Year Deal

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Cory Conacher to a two-year contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. The deal is one-way during the first season and two-way during the second, paying $650,000 per season at the NHL level.

Conacher, 5-foot-8, 180 pounds, skated in 11 games with the Lightning last season, recording a goal and four points. He also skated in 56 games with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, notching 17 goals and 60 points. Conacher ranked eighth in the AHL for assists and tied for eighth for points. He was tied for the team lead for points, second for assist and third for goals. Conacher played in 22 games in helping the Crunch to the Calder Cup Finals in 2017. He paced Syracuse with 12 goals, four power-play goals and 28 points during the postseason. Conacher also led the Calder Cup Playoffs for goals and points.

The Burlington, Ontario native has skated in 152 career NHL games with Tampa Bay, Ottawa, Buffalo and the New York Islanders since making his NHL debut in 2012, posting 20 goals and 62 points to go along with 88 penalty minutes.

The 27-year old has appeared in 222 career American Hockey League games, recording 84 goals and 213 points. In 2011-12, Conacher led the Lightning’s then-top affiliate Norfolk Admirals to a Calder Cup Championship and was awarded the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL’s regular season MVP after registering 39 goals, 14 power-play goals and 80 points.

Conacher went undrafted out of Canisius College and originally signed as a free agent with the Bolts on March 3, 2012.

Lightning Re-Sign Forward Yanni Gourde to Two-Year Deal

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Yanni Gourde to a two-year, one-way contract worth $1-million per season, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Gourde, 25, skated in 20 games with the Lightning during the 2016-17 season, posting six goals and eight points to go along with eight penalty minutes. The 5-foot-9, 172-pound forward scored his first career NHL goal on March 11 against the Florida Panthers. Gourde also scored in three consecutive games from March 27 through April 1. He finished the season posting five goals over his past eight games. He’s appeared in 22 career NHL games, all with the Bolts over the past two seasons, collecting six goals and nine points.

The Narcisse, Quebec native also played in 56 games with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, registering 22 goals and 48 points to go along with 54 penalty minutes. Gourde ranked second on the Crunch for goals and third for points. He also ranked tied for first in the AHL last season with four shorthanded goals. During Syracuse’s Calder Cup Playoff run, Gourde posted nine goals and 27 points in 22 games. He ranked first for playoff assists and was second behind teammate Cory Conacher for points.

Gourde went undrafted and originally agreed to terms with the Lightning on March 9, 2014.

Bolts Extend Blueliner Andrej Sustr

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed defenseman Andrej Sustr to a one-year, $1.95 million contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Sustr, 6-foot-7, 220 pounds, appeared in 80 games with the Lightning in 2016-17, recording three goals and 14 points. He was tied for the team lead among defensemen for games played (Coburn, 80), while also ranking third among Bolts blue-liners for points and tied for third for assists. Sustr was the only Tampa Bay defenseman outside of Victor Hedman to score a game-winning goal in 2016-17.

The Plzen, Czech Republic native also played in six games for Team Czech Republic at the 2016 World Cup, netting one goal. Sustr was one of two Czech defensemen to record a goal in three tournament games.

Sustr, 26, has played in 274 career NHL games, all with the Lightning during the previous five seasons. During that time, he has recorded eight goals and 56 points with a plus-2 rating, two game-winning goals and one power-play goal. Sustr has also played in 46 career Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Bolts, recording two goals and five points with a plus-8 rating.

The Lightning signed Sustr as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Nebraska-Omaha on March 21, 2013.

2017 Tampa Bay Lightning Draft Picks

Cal Foote

Basics

Type: 
Prospect
Position: 
Defense
Shoots/Catches: 
Right
Height: 
6.03
Weight: 
209
Born: 
12/13/1998
Age: 
18
Hometown: 
Englewood, CO
Acquired: 
Selected by Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 1 (#14) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft
Last Team: 
Kelowna (WHL)
Projects As: 
Big, big-minute and big-shooting defenseman with upside.

Draft Info

Draft Status: 
Drafted
Draft Year: 
2017
Drafted By: 
Tampa Bay Lightning
Round: 
1
Pick No.: 
14
Draft Team: 
Kelowna (WHL)

Contract

Contract Status: 
Unsigned

Bio

Comment: 
returned to juniors to Kelowna for 2017-18
History: 

Selected in the second round, 43rd overall, of the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft by Kelowna. Selected in the third round, 46th overall, of the 2014 USHL Futures Draft by the Omaha Lancers. Ultimately selected the Canadian junior route where he debuted for Kelowna in 2015-2016 with a fine 8 goal and 36 point premiere campaign. Had 6 goals and 51 points in his draft year in 2016-2017 and appeared for Team WHL in the Subway Super Series.

Scouting Report

Scouting Comments: 

"Big, skilled rearguard with fine offensive instincts." -Red Line Report

Strengths: 

Big, strong defenseman with excellent blood lines. Has an advanced understanding of positioning, a good stick, and good gap control. Calm under pressure and is an above average passer with a low, hard shot that should translate to the point on the power play.

Weaknesses: 

Skating has been panned as average, and while he is big and strong, he isn't nasty or mean.

Projection: 

#3 or #4 minute eating defenseman who can contribute on the power play.

Statistics

Player statistics powered by www.eliteprospects.com

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2010-2011 Colorado Thunderbirds QC Int PW4 0 00 2|        
 2013-2014 Colorado Thunderbirds U16T1EHL U1633 2 1214 19|        
  Team Black USA-S155 0 00 -|        
 2014-2015 Colorado Thunderbirds U16T1EHL U1623 4 1115 42|Playoffs4 3 25
  Omaha LancersUSHL2 0 11 0|        
 2015-2016 Kelowna RocketsWHL71 8 2836 36|Playoffs18 1 89 12 
 2016-2017 Kelowna RocketsWHL71 6 5157 41|Playoffs14 1 67 24 
  WHL All-StarsJr Super Series2 0 00 2|        
 2017-2018 Kelowna RocketsWHL30 6 2430 27|        
  Canada U20WJC-20- - -- -|        
  WHL All-StarsCanada/Russia Series2 0 00 2|        

Player statistics © www.eliteprospects.com

Alexander Volkov

Basics

Type: 
Prospect
Position: 
Right Wing
Shoots/Catches: 
Left
Height: 
6.01
Weight: 
192
Born: 
08/02/1997
Age: 
20
Hometown: 
Moscow, RUS
Acquired: 
Selected by Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 2 (#48) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft
Last Team: 
Syracuse (AHL)
Projects As: 
Scoring line winger

Draft Info

Draft Status: 
Drafted
Draft Year: 
2017
Drafted By: 
Tampa Bay Lightning
Round: 
2
Pick No.: 
48
Draft Team: 
SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)

Contract

Contract Status: 
Signed
Waiver Status: 
Waiver Exempt
Signing Date: 
06/29/2017
Contract Type: 
Entry-level
Contract Length: 
3 years
Cap Number: 
$864 167
Contract Start Year: 
2017
Contract End Year: 
2020
Contract End Status: 
RFA
Salary: 
$742 500
Salary: 
$925 000
Salary: 
$925 000

Bio

Awards: 

2015-2016 U17 WJC Silver Medalist
2016-2017 U18 WJC Bronze Medalist
2016-2017 VHL Champion With Dynamo Balashikha

Statistics

Player statistics powered by www.eliteprospects.com

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2013-2014 SKA-1946 St. PetersburgMHL16 2 24 6|Playoffs5 0 00
 2014-2015 SKA-1946 St. PetersburgMHL54 11 819 36|Playoffs17 1 12
  SKA-Varyagi im. MorozovaMHL B2 2 24 0|        
  Russia U18Hlinka Memorial4 0 00 2|        
  Russia U18 (all)International-Jr4 0 00 2|        
 2015-2016 SKA-1946 St. PetersburgMHL42 16 1127 34|Playoffs3 0 00
 2016-2017 SKA-Neva St. PetersburgVHL15 3 03 4|Playoffs8 1 23
  SKA-1946 St. PetersburgMHL16 6 511 12|Playoffs4 2 24
  Russian Selects U20Jr Super Series6 0 33 0|        
 2017-2018 Syracuse CrunchAHL26 6 713 18|        

Player statistics © www.eliteprospects.com

Alexey Lipanov

Basics

Type: 
Prospect
Position: 
Center
Shoots/Catches: 
Left
Height: 
6.00
Weight: 
170
Born: 
08/17/1999
Age: 
18
Hometown: 
Moscow, RUS
Acquired: 
Selected by Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 3 (#75) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft
Last Team: 
Barrie (OHL)
Projects As: 
Solid two-way playmaking center

Draft Info

Draft Status: 
Drafted
Draft Year: 
2017
Drafted By: 
Tampa Bay Lightning
Round: 
3
Pick No.: 
75
Draft Team: 
Dynamo (VHL)

Contract

Contract Status: 
Signed
Waiver Status: 
Waiver Exempt
Signing Date: 
09/28/2017
Contract Type: 
Entry-level w/slide
Contract Length: 
3 years
Contract Start Year: 
2018
Contract End Year: 
2021
Contract End Status: 
RFA

Bio

Comment: 
returned to juniors to Barrie for 2017-18 with ELC slide to 2018-19
Awards: 

2015-16

  • U17 WHC Silver Medal


2016-17

  • U18 WJC Bronze Medal
  • VHL Champion

History: 

Began in Spartak Moscow's youth program before joining Moscow Dynamo's program in 2014-2015 for U16 and U17 before moving again to MHK MVD's MHL program midway through the 2015-2016 season. Split the 2016-2017 campaign between KHK MVD's MHL and VHL team. Won a championship with KHK MVD's VHL side, Dynamo Balashikha. A mainstay of the Russian junior program, he won a Silver Medal at the U17 WJC in 2015-2016 and a U18 WJC Bronze Medal with the program in 2016-2017. Was also drafted by Barrie in the first round of the 2016 CHL Import Draft.

Scouting Report

Scouting Comments: 

"Not flashy, but a very solid two-way performer." - Red Line Report

Strengths: 

Smart, high-IQ two-way player who plays a complete 200 foot game. Good skater with the above average skill-set you might expect from a classic Russian forward. Can play both center and wing effectively, giving his club some versatility.

Weaknesses: 

Somewhat undersized, and needs to grow and get stronger. As a consequence, can play a little bit of a soft, perimeter game at times.

Projection: 

Versatile third line forward who can spot on the second line. Comparable is Nick Bonino.

Statistics

Player statistics powered by www.eliteprospects.com

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2014-2015 Dynamo Moskva U16Russia U1633 21 2849 12|        
  Dynamo Moskva U16Russia U16 Finals6 3 69 2|        
  Russia U16 (all)International-Jr7 2 35 16|        
 2015-2016 Dynamo Moskva U17Russia U1718 2 1214 39|        
  MHK Dynamo MoskvaMHL32 3 58 16|        
  Russia U17WHC-176 2 24 4|        
  Russia U18WJC-185 1 23 0|        
 2016-2017 Russia U18Hlinka Memorial5 0 55 0|        
  Dynamo BalashikhaVHL21 3 58 8|Playoffs6 0 33
  Russia U18 |WJAC-19|WJAC-194 4 48 0|        
  MHK Dynamo MoskvaMHL11 0 33 6|        
  Russia U18WJC-187 0 33 0|        
 2017-2018 Barrie ColtsOHL31 11 1728 10|        
  Russian Selects U20Jr Super Series2 0 22 0|        
  Russia U20WJC-20- - -- -|        
  Russia U20 (all)International-Jr2 0 22 0|        

Player statistics © www.eliteprospects.com

Nick Perbix

Basics

Type: 
Prospect
Position: 
Defense
Shoots/Catches: 
Right
Height: 
6.04
Weight: 
194
Born: 
06/15/1998
Age: 
19
Hometown: 
Elk River, MN
Acquired: 
Selected by Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 6 (#169) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft
Last Team: 
Omaha (USHL)
Projects As: 
Right-handed defense with size

Draft Info

Draft Status: 
Drafted
Draft Year: 
2017
Drafted By: 
Tampa Bay Lightning
Round: 
6
Pick No.: 
169
Draft Team: 
Elk River (USHS)

Contract

Contract Status: 
Unsigned

Bio

Comment: 
committed to St. Cloud State for 2018-19 season

Statistics

Player statistics powered by www.eliteprospects.com

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2013-2014 Elk River HighUSHS23 0 33 2|Playoffs3 0 00
 2014-2015 Elk River HighUSHS23 0 33 0|Playoffs3 0 22
 2015-2016 Elk River HighUSHS25 5 1722 10|Playoffs2 1 34
 2016-2017 Sections 4&7 Seniors USHS3 1 01 0|        
  Team NorthwestUSHS21 3 1013 6|      2
  Elk River HighUSHS25 10 3040 6|Playoffs2 2 57
 2017-2018 Omaha LancersUSHL17 0 99 10|        
 2018-2019 St. Cloud State Univ.NCAA- - -- -|        

Player statistics © www.eliteprospects.com

Cole Guttman

Basics

Type: 
Prospect
Position: 
Center
Shoots/Catches: 
Right
Height: 
5.10
Weight: 
163
Born: 
04/06/1999
Age: 
18
Hometown: 
Northridge, CA
Acquired: 
Selected by Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 6 (#180) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft
Last Team: 
Dubuque (USHL)
Projects As: 
High character pivot that produces points

Draft Info

Draft Status: 
Drafted
Draft Year: 
2017
Drafted By: 
Tampa Bay Lightning
Round: 
6
Pick No.: 
180
Draft Team: 
Dubuque (USHL)

Contract

Contract Status: 
Unsigned

Bio

Comment: 
committed to Univ of Denver for 2018-19 season
Awards: 

Season Year A

  • Insert Award Here.


Season Year B

  • Insert Award Here.

Statistics

Player statistics powered by www.eliteprospects.com

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2008-2009 California Brick Invitational5 2 46 6|Playoffs1 1 01
 2011-2012 Los Angeles Jr. Kings QC Int PW7 9 615 6|        
 2013-2014 Los Angeles Jr. Kings Bantam AAABantam4 1 12 17|        
 2014-2015 Team Blue USA-S155 2 57 -|        
  Los Angeles Jr. Kings U16T1EHL U1624 9 1625 16|Playoffs4 0 33 14 
 2015-2016 Team Black USA-S165 3 58 0|        
  Los Angeles Jr. Kings U16T1EHL U1630 24 2448 34|Playoffs4 3 25
  USNTDP JuniorsUSHL3 0 00 0|        
  U.S. National U17 TeamUSDP3 0 00 0|        
  Dubuque Fighting SaintsUSHL2 0 11 0|Playoffs8 0 00
 2016-2017 Team Grey USA-S175 3 25 -|        
  Dubuque Fighting SaintsUSHL53 27 2754 18|Playoffs6 1 34
 2017-2018 Dubuque Fighting SaintsUSHL17 6 511 21|        
 2018-2019 Univ. of DenverNCAA- - -- -|        

Player statistics © www.eliteprospects.com

Sammy Walker

Basics

Type: 
Prospect
Position: 
Right Wing
Shoots/Catches: 
Right
Height: 
5.09
Weight: 
150
Born: 
06/07/1999
Age: 
18
Hometown: 
Minneapolis, MN
Acquired: 
Selected by Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 7 (#200) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft
Last Team: 
Sioux City (USHL)
Projects As: 
Long-term project center with speed and skill

Draft Info

Draft Status: 
Drafted
Draft Year: 
2017
Drafted By: 
Tampa Bay Lightning
Round: 
7
Pick No.: 
200
Draft Team: 
Edina High (USHS)

Contract

Contract Status: 
Unsigned

Bio

Comment: 
committed to Univ of Minnesota for 2018-19 season
Awards: 

Season Year A

  • Insert Award Here.


Season Year B

  • Insert Award Here.

Statistics

Player statistics powered by www.eliteprospects.com

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2014-2015 Team Grey USA-S155 2 46 -|        
  Edina HighUSHS25 3 36 6|Playoffs2 2 13
  Edina HighMN State3 0 00 2|        
 2015-2016 Team Kelly USA-S165 5 38 0|        
  Team SouthwestUSHS21 10 414 20|        
  Edina HighUSHS25 19 1837 14|Playoffs2 0 11
 2016-2017 Team Royal USA-S175 2 24 -|        
  Team SouthwestUSHS20 9 1625 18|      5
  Edina HighUSHS25 22 2446 6|Playoffs3 2 46
  Lincoln StarsUSHL4 0 00 6|        
 2017-2018 Sioux City MusketeersUSHL4 0 00 4|        
  Team SouthwestUMHSEHL20 16 2541 14|Playoffs3 3 47
  Edina HighUSHS7 3 1114 2|        
 2018-2019 Univ. of MinnesotaNCAA- - -- -|        

Player statistics © www.eliteprospects.com

Bolts Trade Drouin to Montreal; Acquire Sergachev, 2018 2nd Round Pick

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired defenseman Mikhail Sergachev and a conditional second round 2018 draft selection from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for forward Jonathan Drouin and a conditional 2018 sixth round pick, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Sergachev, 18, skated in four games with the Canadiens this season, recording a plus-1 rating. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound defenseman made his NHL debut last season on October 13 against the Buffalo Sabres. He also played in 50 games with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League, posting 10 goals and 43 points. Sergachev led all Spitfire defensemen for assists (33), points, power-play assists (10) and penalty minutes (71).

The Nizhnekamsk, Russia native recently won the 2017 Memorial Cup as a member of the Spitfires. Sergachev posted a goal and four points in four games during the Memorial Cup tournament. He also notched a goal and three assists in seven OHL playoff games. Sergachev has played in 117 games during two OHL seasons, both with Windsor, registering 27 goals and 100 points.

Sergachev was originally selected by Montreal in the first round, ninth overall, at the 2016 NHL Draft.

Lightning Trade Rights to Boko Imama to Kings

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft from the Los Angeles Kings today in exchange for unsigned forward prospect Bokondji Imama, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Imama was drafted by the Lightning in the sixth round, 180th overall, of the 2015 NHL Draft.

Bolts Ink 2016 Draft Pick Taylor Raddysh to Entry-Level Deal

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Taylor Raddysh to a three-year, entry-level contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Raddysh, 6-foot-2, 209 pounds, played in 58 regular season games this season with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League, recording 42 goals and 109 points with a plus-67 rating. He led the OHL for assists with 67, ranked second for points and tied for sixth for goals. Raddysh recently helped the Otters to the J. Ross Robertson Cup as champions of the OHL, registering 12 goals and 31 points in 22 games. He was tied for third for points during the OHL playoffs, along with fellow Lightning prospect Anthony Cirelli, and is third for assists. Raddysh and the Otters are preparing to play for the Memorial Cup, which is awarded to the champions of the CHL.

A native of Caledon, Ontario, Raddysh has appeared in 183 career OHL games with Erie, notching 87 goals and 209 points with a career plus-78 rating and 15 game-winning goals. He also skated in 54 career playoff games, recording 19 goals and 47 points.

Raddysh also skated for Team Canada at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships. He recorded five goals, tied for fourth in the tournament, and six points in seven games. Raddysh scored four goals on December 29 versus Latvia, making him the fourth player in Team Canada WJC history to do so, joining Brayden Schenn, Simon Gagne and Mario Lemieux.

The 19-year-old was drafted by the Lightning in the second round, 58th overall, of the 2016 NHL Draft.

NHL Game Night: 4-9-17 Sabres at Lightning

Lightning end a season of disappointment with an abundance of hope.

BUF-2
TB-4

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 28 shots for the victory. He was solid as a rock again today, making situational saves when needed and staying sharp despite long stretches where he had very little work. One of the biggest reasons for the Lightning missing the playoffs this season was subpar goaltending the first two-thirds of the year that came from the weird limbo situation that Ben Bishop was in. Once Bishop was moved out at the trade deadline and Vasilevskiy clearly moved into the number one role, Vasilevskiy played outstanding. He justified the opinion of a lot of people that he's the best emerging young goaltender in the game.

First Period
13:56 BUF Carrier (5), (Nylander)

Second Period
5:59 TB Point (17), (Hedman, Dotchin)
12:20 TB Coburn (5), (Namestnikov, Killorn)(SH)

Third Period
11:17 BUF Kane (28), (Gionta, O'Reilly)
18:36 TB Point (18), (Kucherov, Stralman)
19:59 TB Hedman (16), (Stralman, Point)(EN)

Brayden Point, Vasilevskiy, and Victor Hedman were the game's three stars.

You never know what you're going to get in a game like this where there's nothing on the line after Toronto eliminated the Lightning last night with a late, come-from-behind win. I was pleased to see a pretty good overall effort from the Lightning, particularly for the first 40 minutes of the game, which I think in part stemmed from a smart decision by Jon Cooper to start Vasilevskiy and treat this more like a normal game. They were pretty sound defensively the first 40 minutes and, probably feeling a little more free with things settled in the standings, I thought showed more free-flowing offensive creativity. With tee times beckoning in the Third Period, I thought there were stretches it got a little too much like a QMJHL game with matching line rushes at both ends, but all in all I think the Lightning really closed the season strong and in style. Were it not for the heroics for Linus Ullmark in Buffalo's net, the Lightning could've easily put 7 or 8 goals on the board tonight.

The Lightning ultimately finish 2 points shy of a playoff berth with 94 points. Remember how we keep harping on that 96 point number? Yep, that's the number that would've gotten them in. There's no mysticism about it, and the Lightning learned a painful lesson this season about early season complacency. The good news, I'm happy to say, is that it seems that the team understands what happened, and after their first summer of rest in a long time seem ready to return next year with a renewed team identity and a chip on their shoulder. That's not to say there won't be changes to the roster. There are warts on this team, and players on the roster who either have plateaued as players or simply can't cut it on an elite-level NHL team. I trust that Steve Yzerman will make the changes necessary to address those issues, and have a lot of hope in my heart seeing the emerging young talent on this team.

Going into next season, you can see the Lightning have five forwards in particular that look to me to be capable of being among the NHL's best. Steven Stamkos, returning from injury, obviously is already well proven as an NHL superstar and Nikita Kucherov added himself to that echelon of players with his 40-goal, over a point-a-game campaign this year. Beyond those two, you saw two other players who I think have the capability of becoming top-10 NHL scorers: Jonathan Drouin and Brayden Point. Drouin's talent is undeniable, and it remains not a question of "if" but rather "when" he makes that transition to being a 30 goal, 80+ point a year player. He could've had 4 goals easily today were it not for Ullmark's heroics. Point, on the other hand, came into this year with significantly lower expectations as a guy who was selected outside of the top-60 in his draft year who wasn't even expected to make the NHL roster this year. Had he not missed a month with a broken paw, he would've topped 20 goals this season and something about his rookie campaign gives me all the same feels that Brad Richards' rookie campaign in Tampa Bay did as a third round pick who played like a high first rounder. Rounding out this group is veteran Ondrej Palat, who has looked lost at times over the past two seasons but down the stretch of this year started to look like the two-way beast of a player he's shown he can be. Those give on the Lightning's forward corps give me the belief the team will be dynamic offensively next year.

The defensive corps is a bit more unsettled, but Victor Hedman made a serious campaign for the Norris Trophy down the stretch of this year in finishing second in the NHL in points among defensemen. I wouldn't bet against him winning it next year, and what we saw in Hedman's game this season was the checking off of the last boxes he needed to in order to transition to becoming a great NHL defenseman. Namely, the rise of the Lightning power play this year can be directly traced to the rise of Hedman as a legit power play threat. Maybe that's the silver lining of Stamkos' injury. With Stammer out, the Lightning became a much more "left handed" power play with things primarily playing off of Kucherov's triggers in the right wing circle. Hedman at the center point fed into that change from a "right handed" power play, and he started to really sharpen up his shot and improve his distribution skills. We always knew he was a wizard off the rush, but Hedman learned to thrive in the more stationary/lateral third-ice game of the power play. Supplementing Hedman is stalwart righty defenseman Anton Stralman and the found money that was youngster Jake Dotchin. Anybody who tells you they saw the rise of Jake Dotchin coming is either a (bleeping) liar or has a time machine. One of the magical things in sports is that sometimes a guy just "gets it" out of the blue and comes out of nowhere to become a good player. That was Dotchin this year. Those three form half of a solid NHL defense corps, and with two righties already nailed down, the job of filling out the rest of the Lightning blueline becomes a lot easier for Steve Yzerman to deal with. Lefties are a lot easier to come up with. Righties are rare as hen's teeth.

And then there's Vasilevskiy. Russia's answer to Carey Price. Mark my words: as talented as the Lightning are there will be other clubs in the NHL that will have better skaters and more skill... and the Lightning will have the answer in the form of Andrei Vasilevskiy. Watching him become what he looks destined to become is going to be fun.

Luke Witkowski had 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 16:25.

Greg McKegg played 10:51.

Dotchin had a helper, 1 shot, and 1 blocked shot in 17:07. I'd be interested to know if he draws any attention from the Canadian hockey program as a potential IIHF World Championships player.

Gabriel Dumont had 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:13 and was 63% on 8 draws. He will be headed back to Syracuse to help the Crunch in the playoffs, which Syracuse clinched a spot in today.

Yanni Gourde had 1 shot in 16:35 and was 40% on 10 draws. What a weapon for Syracuse to be getting back into the lineup.

Adam Erne was -2 with 4 hits and 1 blocked shot in 13:01. The stat line looks ugly, but I thought he played a whale of a first 40 minutes in the game. The whole reason Drouin could've had 3-4 goals in this game was that Erne was absolutely dealing on the forecheck and was super-creative distributing once he forced Buffalo to turn it over. He needs to follow up this stretch run with a strong playoffs for Syracuse. He'll enter next season on the roster bubble, and if he approaches the task with the proper intensity and focus he can help this Lightning team. He has obvious size and strength and surprising explosiveness and skill. The fact he can work so well with Drouin like he did today speaks to the upside he has. He's not some bogus faux power forward plugger. He's got the tools to be a serious scoring line contributor in this league. You all saw the flashes of it over the last month.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 4-7-17 Lightning at Canadiens

Carey Price FEARS Yanni Gourde.

TB-4
MTL-2

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 29 saves for the win, including a couple of brilliant jaw-dropping saves to put a national TV audience on notice. From here on out, there's a crime wave coming any time you play Tampa Bay. #Vasilarceniy

First Period
11:42 TB Gourde (5), (Kucherov, Witkowski)
19:50 TB Kucherov (40), (Palat, Point)

Second Period
9:59 MTL King (9), (Lehkonen, Nesterov)
14:19 TB Killorn (19), (Conacher)

Third Period
4:36 MTL Lehkonen (17), (unassisted)(SH)
4:57 TB Gourde (6), (Conacher, Dotchin)

Gourde and Nikita Kucherov were the game's first and second stars.

I'm done talking about the heart of this Lightning club. They just bounced Toronto and Montreal in back-to-back games on the road despite the slim odds they have to make the playoffs. They've got character and refusal to quit. It'll still take an inside straight for Tampa Bay to make it to the big dance, but kudos to them for making Toronto earn it. Worst case scenario, this is a club with a freshly minted 40 goal scoring superstar in Kucherov, one of the best emerging goaltenders in the game in Vasilevskiy, Brayden Point laying in the weeds to become another star in his own rights, and plenty of other talent coming with them. Jon Cooper's found a formula down the stretch here that, at a minimum, portend very very good things for next season.

A little over 2 months ago this team was dead last in the Eastern Conference. It's Game 81 on April 7th and they're still playing meaningful hockey. Give these guys credit for what they've done and the resiliency and chemistry they've found.

Luke Witkowski had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot and 4 hits in 11:25.

Greg McKegg was 64% on 11 draws in 10:59.

Jake Dotchin had a helper and was +2 with 4 hits in 17:03. I still have it in my head there's a sweet spot of around 17-18 minutes where Dotchin goes from being a good player to a really good player.

Gabriel Dumont had 1 shot, 6 hits, 2 blocked shots, and was 58% on 12 draws in 13:48.

Gourde had 2 goals and was +3 with 3 shots and 2 hits in 14:57. He was also 38% on 8 draws. Fun fact: Yanni Gourde has 3 of his 6 goals this season against Carey Price. True story.

Adam Erne was -1 with 4 hits and 2 blocked shots in 9:40.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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