With the trade deadline approaching the question is being asked, should the Lightning make a trade and bring in a player or two to help get this team over the hump in their quest for the Stanley Cup? Or should the Lightning keep the team intact and enter the playoffs with the team that they have now?
The answer is quite simple. No changes need to be made. Keep the team intact. There is no rent a player out there that is going to come in and be a difference maker on this Lightning team.
Years from now people are going to talk about this team in the same way they do the 77 Montreal Canadiens and the 96 Detroit Red Wings, two of the greatest teams in NHL history.
The only thing the Lightning have to do will be to win the Stanley Cup and they will be revered and talked about as one of the greatest teams in NHL history.
With twentry games left in the regular season, lets look at what the team has accomplished up to this point in the season.
The Lightning have 47 wins. Last years team set a new team record with 54 wins and that looks like it will be broken easily by this years teams. The Lightning are on pace for sixty two wins which would tie the all time NHL record for wins in a season.
Only two teams in the history of the league have ever won sixty games in a season . The 96 Detroit Red Wings won sixty two, and the 77 Montreal Canadiens won sixty games.
The Lightning should finish with 125-130 points which would put them in the top three seasons of all time trailing only the 77 Canadiens who had 132 points.
With the Lightning winning seventy five percent of games so far, you would assume that another fifteen wins in the final twenty would not be out of the question to give them sixty two wins.
The best team in the short history of the Tampa Bay Lightning was the Stanley Cup winning team of 2003-04. This years Lightning team is better in almost every category. Failure to win the cup would keep the 03-04 team at the top of the list of the greatest teams in Lightning history.
The Lightning leads the league in offense, and is in the top five in goals allowed per game. The Lightning also lead the league in power play goals and is second in the penalty kill.
Nikita Kucherov is the first Lightning player to have 100 points in two or more seasons. Kucherov already set the assist record with seventy and that number will continue to climb.
Kucherov barring an injury should easily surpass Vincent Lecavalier‘s 106 points accumulated during the 06-07 sesson. Kucherov is averaging 1.61 points a game and with twenty games left should finish with 130 points which would put Kucherov in the top fifty best seasons of all time In NHL history.
Braydon Point with thirty six goals in on pace for forty seven goals and should finish with 103 points. Steven Stamkos is another Lightning player that may hit the 100 point mark, but would need twenty seven points in the last twenty games to achieve that mark.
Ninty to ninty five points is a more realistic number for Stamkos.
The Lightning‘s schedule is about to get a bit tougher as they have three games remaining against Boston and Washington and two with Toronto, The Lightning also have one more against Montreal which is always a challenge.
The chemistry on this team is incredible. They have good leaders in the locker room. This a veteran laden team that has had deep playoff runs the last few years and have learned what it takes to win sixteen games in the playoffs.
This is also the most physical Lightning team that I can recall in recent memory. They are out hitting opponents almost every game and initiating the physical play.
Nikita Kucherov and Braydon Point both did not back down from a physical challenge when they needed to send a message late in the game Thursday night against Buffalo.
There is no letting up. This team is focused. They are on a mission. That mission is lifting Lord Stanley‘s Cup in June. Anything less will be a major disappointment.