Well Tampa Bay Lightning fans, I hope you’ve enjoyed these last two years. Because guess what? There will not be a third. They had no choice but to break up the team due to salary cap issues. In doing so, the magic is gone. The Tampa Bay Lightning have been trying to fill the void left by departing players, and finding similar players for similar roles. The good news is that 25 year old Brayden Point is locked up for the next eight years. Smart move there. After that, things get dicey. Let’s break it down.
The most obvious loss is the dismantling of the third line of Barclay Goodrow, Yanni Gourde, and Blake Coleman. Other than the top line, this was the most important line on the team. Goodrow got traded to the Rangers, Gourde was selected by the Kraken in the expansion draft, and Coleman signed a six year deal with Calgary. Corey Perry signed a two year deal with the Lightning probably to recreate a line like they had and put Perry in an identical role. Perry was a fourth line player with Montreal. Speaking of Montreal, Tampa lost David Savard to the Habs and lost a veteran defenseman. Likely not a big loss, but worthy to note.
Then, there is the trade of Tyler Johnson for Brent Seabrook. This one is a head scratcher. Seabrook is 36 years old and Tampa already has quite a few defensemen. Johnson played on the fourth line for Tampa. Granted he is 31, but he still a tough loss for Tampa in terms of continuity. Seabrook probably doesn’t have much left in the tank. Ross Colton is also still on the market and has yet to resign with Tampa. Finally, there is Steven Stamkos. He will be on his way out sooner or later. He has come up big with Tampa, including the playoffs. It is still unclear when or if he will be moved. He has dealt with injuries and is also getting older.
So at this point, the Lightning have lost their entire third line, they might lose two thirds of the fourth line (maybe more), and they may lose the main goal scorer on the second line. On top of that, everybody is getting older, especially the defensemen. Cal Foote resigned which should help moving forward. The Lightning could still be in the mix these next few years. But, in terms of the success they’ve had, it likely won’t be repeated.
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