TropicalFruitGirl26 Posted October 6, 2017 Share Posted October 6, 2017 Bolts get underway tonight against their heated rivals (no, not really) the Florida Panthers. First off, a big welcome back to captain Steven Stamkos! Having him back healthy (hopefully he STAYS that way) is like a big free agent signing...especially in light of the talent the Lightning traded away in Jonathan Drouin. Stammer's injuries the past couple seasons have been....freakish....to say the least. With any luck, he avoids walking under ladders, breaking mirrors, stepping on cracks, EA Sports games covers, black cats, and Pierre McGuire's admiration to ensure he has a full healthy season this year! With him back and healthy, all the other forwards can slot in to where they are supposed to be, pressure is taken off the up n comers, and the team can continue their march towards a Cup that they started about 3 seasons ago. Pictured with Stamkos is Nikita Kucherov who has become quite the star in his own right in the league. This may be Stamkos' team, but make no mistake, the Bolts go nowhere without Kucherov doing what he does best on the ice...and that is skate really fast, score goals, and make other teams worry about where he is on the ice at all times. Young forwards like Brayden Point, Yanni Gourde, and Vladi Namestnikov will get their chance to show that they truly belong with the big club long term and that last season (especially for Point) was just for starters. The league already knows about the Bolts' Triplets (Palat, Kucherov, Johnson), so its time TB unveiled a new triple threat that the NHL isn't expecting, possibly in the form of the above mentioned young players. Over on defense, I personally feel it has gotten an experience upgrade with the addition of Dan Girardi and moving Brayden Coburn into the top 4, however, it also means that same defense has possibly gotten a bit slower too, Victor Hedman being the only elite type D-man in the Bolts top 4. That means guys like Anton Stralman, who normally I cast as an unquestioned top pair guy, have to show they aren't finished (Stralman had a really bad year last season), and can still perform. Andrej Sustr, from the bottom pairing needs to show that he CAN play like a man of his stature is supposed to play (6'7 225), and young D-men like Jake Dotching and Slater Koekkoek will get their chance to prove to Yzerman that they may be able to bump one or two of the "old guys" from the top 4. Oh, yea. And the Bolts have this young defenseman they got from Montreal for Jonathan Drouin....Mikhail Sergachev. Just 19 yrs old and surprisingly, Yzerman is not going to return him to Juniors (perhaps he will play the full 9 games at the NHL level before another decision is made), but will indeed, start the season with the big club. Is he really that special of a player? We will see...... Other players? Ryan Callahan, Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn....these guys will need to stay healthy, return to form, or just be consistent to help take the pressure off of Stamkos' top line. In the bottom six, we have grit n sandpaper in the form of JT Brown, Cedric Paquette, and newcomer, but veteran player, Chris Kunitz. Adam Erne, who is currently assigned to AHL Syracuse, could also be a callup for a bottom six role....maybe more if he shows a propensity for offense at the NHL level like he did in his Juniors years. And finally, Andrei Vasilevskiy in goal. He will be working without a net (no pun intended) as Ben Bishop is no more and he is now The Man. Peter Budaj is a decent back up for him, but make no mistake...if the Bolts have to run Budaj out TOO much during the season, it means the Bolts hopes for a championship will be in serious jeopardy! Ready to get this season underway! If anyone wants to discuss Bolts with me, here is the place to do it! Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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