Yesterday was exactly one month since Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. On that night the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens, thanks to a lone goal by Ross Colton in the second period, and clinched their third Stanley Cup in the franchise history. They became back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions.
Many things have changed since that moment. The Lightning have lost their entire third line, which played a big part in both previous championships: Yanni Gourde was claimed by the Seattle Kraken during the Expansion Draft, while Barclay Goodrow and Blake Coleman found new homes in New York and Calgary respectively when the free agency window was opened.
The team traded Mitchell Stephens to the Detroit Red Wings, clearing out cap space for veterans Corey Perry and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who should fill the holes in their bottom six.
The team parted ways with Tyler Johnson – a player who has been with the organization for the past nine years.
They signed Zach Bogosian, who returned after a one-year stint with the Toronto Maple Leafs. They also re-signed several of their younger players and are still waiting for one last piece of the puzzle – Ross Colton, who recently filed for arbitration. Last but not least they’ve signed Brayden Point to to an eight-year contract extension starting with the 2022-23.
Despite losing some important pieces of their roster, the Lightning will be still trying for a three-peat – something that has not been achieved by anyone in the past forty years. The Lightning roster will have some new faces, but with players like Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Victor Hedman, their Stanley Cup window will be open for several more years. The roster changes also put some pressure on young players like Cal Foote and Alex Barre-Boulet, who are expected to make big steps forward.
The next important date for the Lightning is Ross Colton’s arbitration, which is scheduled for the 16th of August, but given the Lightning’s history, we can expect that a new contract will be signed before this date. The opening date of training camp hasn’t been revealed, but it’s expected to start in the mid-September. The Lightning, however, already know their pre-season opponents: starting on Saturday 28, the Lightning will play twice against both the Nashville Predators and Carolina Hurricanes, finishing their pre-season with three games against the Florida Panthers.
The Lightning will start their 2021-22 regular season with a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena on October 12.
Brayden Point had his day with the Cup yesterday, celebrating his eight-year extension as well.
The Athletic hosted a Q&A session with Pat Maroon, who talked his favourite part of the Stanley Cup celebrations and new additions to the Lightning roster [The Athletic, paid content]
You’ve won three Cups in a row now (two with the Lightning). Think you guys can do it again?
I truly think we can run it back again. It depends on our health, how guys are feeling, our attitude. But we’ve been texting together as a group and thinking, we’ve brought our top two lines back, our big four on ‘D,’ the best goalie in the world. We added (Pierre Eduoard Bellemare), we’ve got (Ross) Colton, (Mathieu) Joseph. You add Taylor Raddysh and those guys can fill in. Why not?
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