The Tampa Bay Lightning won their second Stanley Cup this past season, and the team has managed to keep much of its roster intact. Our NHL predictions have the Lightning going far this season, but we feel they will fall short of winning a third Stanley Cup.
The team has one of the league’s best offenses, and many of the best players will be back. But the salary cap issues for the team might require them to shed a few pieces, although they won’t be the most significant ones.
How the Roster Looks
The main core for the Bolts looks the same as it was last year. The team will bring back Andrei Vasilevskiy, Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman, Brayden Point, and many others to the fold for 2021.
The Lightning will also be even better than they were in the playoffs, as Steven Stamkos has recovered from his injury and will be ready to play in 2021. Stamkos had only one playoff appearance this past season due to injuries. Stamkos will be even more motivated to go further this year.
The team averaged 3.47 goals per game last year, plus they completed close to a quarter of their power play attempts. You can expect the Lightning to continue to be a threat in the NHL for the coming season.
Stanley’s got a lot to take in around Tampa. 👀 pic.twitter.com/w6s43Jgr5M
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) December 15, 2020
The team didn’t lose many players this past season. Kevin Shattenkirk moved on to the Anaheim Ducks, and Zach Bogosian went to the Toronto Maple Leafs, but there weren’t any real losses of consequence to the team this offseason.
But there are worries about how well the Lightning can stay together, as the team has some salary cap issues. The Bolts have a limited amount of cap space, and the team might consider moving a few players on the trade block to free up room. Ondrej Palat may be one option to note. While he scored seventeen goals last season, he hasn’t had a true breakout season for the Bolts.
Alex Killorn and Tyler Johnson have both been made available for trades, but there haven’t been any takers. Killorn had 49 points last season, which was his career-best. But the team might move on from him and stick with a prospect like Jack Finley or Gage Goncalves to save room on the salary cap.
Where Will the Lightning Finish in Their Division?
We predict the Tampa Bay Lightning will win the Central Division in 2021. The Bolts will take on a few foreign opponents in this temporary division, including the Carolina Hurricanes, the Nashville Predators, the Minnesota Wild, and the Florida Panthers.
The Lightning shouldn’t have any struggles in taking on any of these teams, as the Bolts’ offense is too powerful and overwhelming for all these teams.
Will the Bolts Win the Stanley Cup Again?
We feel the Lightning will win the Eastern Conference title, but we won’t go far enough in our NHL predictions to say they will win the Stanley Cup. We predict they will lose in the Stanley Cup Finals to the Vegas Golden Knights, who have a faster and more dynamic all-around roster. The Knights also have more cap room to improve themselves.
But the Tampa Bay Lightning will still be one of the best teams to watch this coming season. The team will bring in plenty of pressure on its opponents, thanks to their powerful offense.
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