As the Tampa Bay Lightning players reported to Amalie Arena on the first day of training camp The sting of defeat was still lingering in the air as it is apparent the loss to the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference Finals still hurts.
The lightning are once again favored to win the Stanley Cup this season just as they were last season, and most of the players are tired of talking about the playoff failures. It is time to get it done. As Steven Stamkos said we just have to get it doNe. No excuses.
The roster has pretty much remained intact. Ryan Callahan is still rehabbing from shoulder surgery, but should be ready to go the first part of November.
The Captain Steven Stamkos is healthy. The Lightning return the defensive corp intact led by Hedman, MacDonaugh, Stralman and Sergachev. The lightning defensive group remain one of the best in the NHL.
There was talk they may be adding Erik Karlsson in a trade from Ottawa, but he was dealt to the San Jose Sharks.
As the lightning players checked in to Amalie Arena one by one, it was a business type atmosphere, as they realize another chance to win the Stanley Cup was squandered.
Every season that goes by and you do not win the Stanley Cup with the talent the Lightning has on this team, the window closes just a bit. How long the window remains open is anyone’s guess.
The lightning had one of the younger teams in the NHL last season and most of the players are under contract for at least a few years, so the window to win a Cup should remain open for some time.
Unlike in previous seasons, there are really no roster spots open. Cal Foote the young defenseman is the Lightning’s number one prospect, but with the blue line being so deep the chances of Foote making the team are slim barring an injury.
This is a real important camp for Jake Dotchin and Slater Koekkoek who at times looked liked they belonged in the NHL, and at other times looked overwhelmed. They both need to work on the consistency part of their game.
Nikita Kucherov had a great regular season but disappointing playoff. Steven Stamkos had one of his worst seasons since his rookie season. As the captain, Stamkos needs to have a bounce back season and get back to being the player we have seen in the past.
With the transition in the front office from Yzerman to BriseBois, it should be business as usual.
This training camp will be about getting the team ready for another run to win Lord Stanley’s cup and get a look at some of the prospects from Syracuse and see how they fare against NHL competition.
It is shaping up to be another fun season in Tampa. One that should end with the Stanley Cup finally being raised in Amalie Arena.