Hockey season is right around the corner, so it’s time to give my thoughts about what the 2019-20 Tampa Bay Lightning roster will look like. The team will be very different after losing important players such as J.T Miller, Anton Stralman, Ryan Callahan, Adam Erne, and Dan Girardi. Added to the team were Kevin Shattenkirk and Luke Schenn this offseason.
These are my predictions for the 2019-20 Tampa Bay Lightning roster, however, they are only my opinion.
I believe the first line will again consist of Ondrej Palat, Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov, mainly because this was Tampa Bay’s first line last year. Also, these three players always seem to perform well together on the ice. Last season, Kucherov scored 41 goals and had 87 assists for a total of 128 points; leading the league in points. He was awarded the Hart Trophy as league MVP. Meanwhile, Stamkos scored 45 goals and had 53 assists for 98 points total while centering the trio. Palat, on the other hand, had a bit of a down year with only 34 points. But he’s full of potential and I expect a much better season from him.
If you want to talk about players who had a breakout season last year, it would have to be Yanni Gourde, Brayden Point and Tyler Johnson, who I predict will make up the Lightning’s second line. Gourde had 22 goals and 26 assists for 48 points. Point had a very good season with 41 goals and 51 assists for 92 points. Johnson had 47 points. Overall, those are pretty good results for a team’s second line.
Tampa Bay’s third line for the 2019-20 season should be Alex Killorn, Anthony Cirelli and Mathieu Joseph. Killorn had a good season last year with 18 goals and 22 assists for a total of 40 points. Meanwhile, Cirelli and Joseph had great rookie seasons. Cirelli had 19 goals and 20 assists for 39 points while Joseph had 13 goals and assists for 26 points. In my opinion, this could be considered by many to be the best third line in hockey.
This was a tough decision, but I think the fourth line will be Gemel Smith, Cedric Paquette, and Danick Martel. Smith had only three points last season while playing for the Dallas Stars and Boston Bruins, while Paquette had 17 points. Martel had two points in nine games.
Victor Hedman and Mikhail Sergachev will be the Lightning’s primary defensemen. It seems to make sense as Hedman was a Norris Trophy finalist with 54 points. Sergachev is improving with every season he plays; finishing with 32 points last season.
Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Shattenkirk. Playing McDonagh as one-half of the second defensive pair should scare other teams around the league. He had 46 points last year. Shattenkirk was recently bought out by the New York Rangers and signed a one-year deal with the Lightning. 28 points isn’t bad, but he was making too much money with the Rangers. In my eyes, this is a “prove yourself” type of contract with the Lightning.
Braydon Coburn and Erik Cernak. Coburn definitely has the trust of Lightning management as they re-signed him to a two-year deal. He had 23 points last season, but he is more of a defensive player as he had 96 hits last season, too. We got to see what Cernak could do more towards the end of the regular season; he had 16 points in 58 games, which isn’t a bad rookie campaign.
Without a doubt, Andrei Vasilevskiy will be the starter this season for the Lightning. He won the Vezina Trophy and had 39 wins with a .925 save percentage. Curtis McElhinney should be Vasilevskiy’s backup. He had a .912 save percentage and 20 wins for the Carolina Hurricanes last season.
Connor Demo is a contributor to Overtime Heroics. You can follow him on Twitter @firestrike2005
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