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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 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 51 18 19 25 37
H. Zetterberg 52 9 25 2 34
T. Tatar 51 15 17 -2 32
G. Nyquist 52 14 15 -2 29
J. Abdelkader 52 14 12 -4 26
P. Datsyuk 37 6 20 11 26
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 38 5 10 6 15
D. DeKeyser 48 6 8 12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 19 10 4 .932 2.03
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89