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Closing Thoughts on the 2017-18 Lightning Season

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After taking a bit of time to digest what happened to the Bolts in the Eastern Finals, I think I can now put together some reasonable thoughts on what they accomplished this past season and what they still need to do to finish the job in their quest for a Stanley Cup.


Amazing season really.

Marred a bit by bits of complacency during the season, but a season that MANY teams, nonetheless, surely wish they had.


I welcomed the addition of a veteran presence on the back end (Girardi and later, via trade, Ryan McDonagh), however, that experience on the blue line, while a good thing, came at the expense of overall team speed from the defensemen.


The Lightning will be returning with mostly the same defense intact for another try next season, but I think they will need another defenseman or two to step their games up a bit and help settle in a guy like Girardi or a Coburn firmly into the 3rd pairing where they should be.


Maybe a Slater Koekkoek (not overly hopeful due to the fact that Stevie Y seems to prefer the larger type defensemen on his teams) or a Jake Dotchin stepping up their games could do that.

Mikhail Sergachev will surely be a better overall defenseman next season....which is saying something because his rookie campaign was pretty good, albeit, still with plenty of areas for improvement.

And maybe there is a defenseman that can be picked up on the FA market to help as well......or even someone in the pipeline too.


Up front, I think the Bolts are still set up pretty well.

I will admit that Steven Stamkos being mostly invisible during these playoffs was pretty disappointing. He wasn't completely a non factor, however, a guy of his stature, just like Alex Ovechkin for the Caps, simply HAS to rise above and beyond in the post season.

I feel Stamkos really didn't do that. He played like a "good" player, but he should have been so much more than that.


Just looking at the overall team, from the 1C all the way down to the 23rd or 24th man though, I think the Lightning can remain competitive for several years.

I believe still in Steve Yzerman, his thought processes, and his experience as a winning player on those elite Detroit Red Wings teams, that he will find the right ingredients to turn a good Lightning team into a Stanley Cup winner.....maybe even a MULTIPLE Cup winner.


Still stings a bit the Caps beat the Lightning the way they did....and it should......but if the Bolts as an organization can use this as a learning experience, fuel to drive them to even greater things next season and beyond, then it will be worth it.


How many times did Yzerman, as a player, come close with his Red Wings, only to be disappointed......then one day, the Cups started rolling Detroit's way?


If the Bolts follow this blueprint, then even though they may see some major disappointments (and have already seen some), then it is reasonable to think that championship days are still in the offing.


I expect nothing less than another deep run next season....if not a Cup run.


2018-19 should be another year where the Lightning can rightly be considered favorites to win their division (Bruins, Leafs...maybe even the Panthers will have a say in that, I know) and perhaps maybe the East as well.


But they must continue to tweak the team formula if they want the ultimate prize.


I trust Yzerman, his staff, the coaches, and the team leaders can tend to that.


Will be interesting to see what kind of off season the Bolts have.

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The Lightning dismissed associate coach Rick Bowness and assistant coach Brad Lauer.  Bowness had been with the Lightning since June 2013, overseeing the defense and penalty kill.

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1 hour ago, hf101 said:

The Lightning dismissed associate coach Rick Bowness and assistant coach Brad Lauer.  Bowness had been with the Lightning since June 2013, overseeing the defense and penalty kill.


I soooo hate when coaches take the fall for players not executing on the ice, but bottom line was, the Bolts PK and overall defense simply should NOT have been as bad as it was.


I don't think the defensive problems were so much with pairings, but rather, with the 'approach' to how the Lightning were going to tackle a given defensive situation.

I think this part ultimately falls on the coach's parts (they say, the players do).


I guess we will see come next season.

If the same half assed, soft styled defense is played, then we know it is more likely between the ears of the players...

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