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Previewing the East: Tampa Bay

Bolts shore up defense with Stralman signing; another Calder candidate is in the wings

Thursday, 09.4.2014 / 12:00 AM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Previewing the East: Tampa Bay
DETROIT – Ready for some hockey?

Sure you are.

The Red Wings don’t open training camp until Sept. 19 in Traverse City, but over the next eight weeks DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose will preview the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference, including the Red Wings’ Atlantic Division rivals in Boston, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Florida and Buffalo. This week it's the Tampa Bay Lightning:

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Coach: Jon Cooper

2013-14 INTANGIBLES
Last Year: 46-27-9, 101 points (third in Eastern Conference)
Detroit vs. Lightning: 1-2-2
5-on-5 Goals: 156 (fourth in Eastern Conference)
Power Play Efficiency: 50-for-270, 18.5 percent (eighth in Eastern Conference)

POINT RANGE
2013-14 Stats Vs. Red Wings
Player POS AGE rank GM G A PT. GM G A PT.
Martin St. Louis* RW 39 19 81 30 39 69 4 0 2 2
Ondrej Palat LW 23 51 81 23 36 59 5 2 1 3
Valtteri Filppula C 30 54 75 25 33 58 4 1 1 2
Victor Hedman D 23 66 75 13 42 55 3 0 2 2
Tyler Johnson C 24 89 82 24 26 50 5 1 1 2
 
IN THE CREASE
2013-14 Stats
Goalie AGE Rank GM W L OTL GAA SV%
Ben Bishop 27 4 63 37 14 7 2.23 .924
vs. Red Wings
5 4 1 0 1.56 .946






2014-15 OUTLOOK

Regular-Season Games vs. Red Wings: Nov. 9 (at DET); Jan. 29 (at TBL); Mar. 20 (at TBL); Mar. 28 (at DET).

ARRIVALS:  Forwards Brenden Morrow, Brian Boyle, Jeff Costello, Jerome Samson, Mike Blunden; defensemen Anton Stralman, Jason Garrison, Matt Corrente; and goalie Evgeni Nabokov.

DEPARTURES:  Forwards Teddy Purcell, Nate Thompson, B.J. Crombeen, Tom Pyatt, Pierre-Cedric Labrie; defensemen Sami Salo, Keith Aulie, Brian Lee, Mike Kostka; and goalies Anders Lindback and Cedric Desjardins.

Stralman
PLAYER TO WATCH: Not flashy offensively, but that’s not why the Lightning went out and got Anton Stralman, who was an UFA following his appearance in the Stanley Cup finals with the Rangers. Stralman’s first approach to the position is very much about being responsible defensively. He only produced a goal and 13 points in 81 games and five points in the postseason, but he was steady, playing in all 25 contests. As a right-handed shooting D-man, Stralman was in high demand in free agency and he certainly cashed in, receiving a five-year deal worth $22.5 million – that comes out to $4.5 million annually. Stralman should fit in well with whoever his new D-partner becomes out of a trio of lefties – Victor Hedman, Matt Carle or newly acquired Jason Garrison.

SEASON SCOPE: Stralman wasn’t the only former Ranger who couldn’t pass up Tampa’s warm weather, nor the allure of the young, exciting team that the Lightning has assembled. Brian Boyle, a 6-foot-7, 244-pound center, signed a three-year, $6.9 million contract to rejoin former New York teammates Ryan Callahan and Stralman. Boyle isn’t a big point-producer but he’ll play a key role as an imposing figure on a checking line, perhaps with Brenden Morrow and J.T. Brown

Jonathan Drouin, the third overall draft pick in 2013, is a tremendous playmaking winger, who has all of the intangibles to become the first Tampa rookie ever to win the Calder Trophy. Sooner than later, Drouin will elevate to a top-six forward role playing with either centers Steven Stamkos and Valtteri Filppula. In his final junior season in the QMJHL, Drouin was a two-points-per-game producer, finishing with 108 points and a league-best 79 assists. … Lightning forwards Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson were Calder finalists last season.

2014-15 EASTERN CONFERENCE PREVIEWS
Atlantic Division Metropolitan Division
Buffalo (July 24) Carolina (Aug. 7)
Boston (sep. 11) Columbus (Aug. 21)
Florida (July 29) New Jersey (Aug. 14)
Montreal (Sep. 2) NY Islanders (July 31)
Ottawa (Aug. 12) NY Rangers (Aug. 28)
Tampa Bay (Sep. 4) Philadelphia (Aug. 26)
Toronto (Aug. 5) Pittsburgh (sep. 9)
Washington (Aug. 19)




SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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