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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 - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
R. Sheahan 81 14 11 -8 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80