Tampa Bay Lightning Details
It was a rough 2016-17 for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who finished 5th in the Atlantic Division with 94 points. Captain and leading scorer Steven Stamkos went down with a season-ending injury after just 17 games, sending the Lightning into a tailspin for much of the season. The offense suffered, as did the defense. Yet, despite all of the issues, the Jon Cooper-coached squad was just a single point out of the Wild Card, losing the spot to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The team made a couple of solid trade deadline moves that set them up for a successful 2017-18 season, including trading for goaltender Peter Budaj, who filled in nicely for the Los Angeles Kings. 20-year-old center Brayden Point made strides last year, finishing the season with 18 goals and 22 assists. Tyler Johnson struggled at times to fill the shoes of Steven Stamkos on the team’s top line, but he still finished the year with 19 goals and 26 assists.
2017-18 is already looking promising for the team’s young core of players. Stamkos is on track to return for the beginning of the season and right wing Nikita Kucherov is coming off his best season by far. In 74 games, he tallied 40 goals and 45 assists. Also expect another great year from Jonathan Drouin, who finished the year with 53 points in 73 games. With another season on the horizon, the fans of Amalie Arena will be expecting a much better performance from a Lightning team that can hopefully stay healthy. That performance certainly hinges on the return of superstar Steven Stamkos.