Tampa Bay Lightning Schedule 2023

Tampa Bay Lightning Schedule 2023 – That’s the whole story of this pattern in the preseason with the Lightning as a fixture at the top. Six years in a row as a genuine top 5 team with the last four teams being top three. The Lightning have been at the top of the league for a long time, with much of the last decade defined by their greatness. The last three years – two Stanley Cups and a loss in the Finals – have taken their toll on that.

But the dynasty did not last forever. They can’t. After a season where the team lost key contributors, the Lightning may need to fight their way back to the top.

Tampa Bay Lightning Schedule 2023

Tampa Bay Lightning Schedule 2023

If any team can do it, it’s them – but now Tampa Bay has started the season admirably outside the top 5.

Arizona Coyotes Shutout Tampa Bay Lightning For 1 0 Win In Shootout

In Ondrej Palat and Ryan McDonagh, the Lightning lost two key pieces on their championship roster – and 2.8 wins. Add 5.6 points to this group’s projection and the Lightning finished with 109 points, one point below last year’s total. It’s pretty neat and tidy, which perfectly explains why Lightning landed where they do.

Tampa Bay Lightning Schedule 2023

It was a similar story last year when Tampa Bay lost its entire third line — Yanni Gourde, Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow — and the Lightning did a good job. Better than good actually, as the team still found their way back to the Stanley Cup Finals. It’s possible the team would win a third straight title if allowed to run again, but the near miss is a testament to the Lightning Machine.

Tampa Bay found a way. The Lightning are the epitome of a team that knows how to win, a franchise known for its championship pedigree. They have the It factor and the killer instincts that other teams aggressively look for. Tampa Bay knows what it takes and there is no doubting their abilities.

Tampa Bay Lightning Schedule 2023

Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning Beat Columbus Blue Jackets

That’s why there will be some concern about the team’s 103.3 expected points, or their ranking beyond the top five. It does not matter. They will most likely make it to the knockout stages with a 90% chance and that is where they will instantly become one of the scariest teams in the league.

The Lightning enter the season with a six percent chance to win the Stanley Cup, eighth in the league, but that’s based on the projected strength listed here and a dangerous path through the Atlantic Division. It doesn’t matter that this team, more than any other team in the league, has the heart of a champion.

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Tampa Bay Lightning Schedule 2023

That being said, there’s only so much personnel loss a team can take – even this one. The Lightning have always found a smart way to replace talent, whether it’s inside or outside, but there’s still a lot of talent left over from the past two seasons.

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The model’s bearish sentiment regarding the team’s chances – relative to their usual place in the league hierarchy – reflects these losses. We’re excited to see how a franchise that always answers the call will do so this season.

Tampa Bay Lightning Schedule 2023

If a team wants to be at the top of the salary cap, it has to be deducted. One of those minuses is that Ryan McDonagh and the remaining 4 years on his contract provide a cap hit of $6.75 million. While he has still performed well in Tampa Bay this past season, management needs to anticipate the direction his game will take and act accordingly.

The Lightning have one of the deepest blue lines on the left side thanks to Victor Hedman up top, McDonagh in the middle and a strong man like Mikhail Sergachev on the third pair. Now that McDonagh is no longer relevant, it’s time for Sergachev to shine in an expanded role.

Tampa Bay Lightning Schedule 2023

Game Highlights 47.0: Edmonton Oilers Beat Tampa Bay Lightning 5 3

Management is the bank for it. First, they moved an important part of their defense. Second, they extended Sergachev a year ahead of his first-pairing-caliber contract (eight years, $8.50 million AAV).

Based on his NHL career thus far, there’s reason the team feels confident enough to make this leap. So far in his NHL career, Sergachev has steadily seen his freeze time rise to an average of 22:28 last year. Technically, his point total is also near a career high of 38 last season. But when it comes to extended playing time and actual playing time, his scoring numbers have dipped; His 1.3 points per 60 last year were a career-worst. Still, that’s still good enough to be second in defense in Tampa Bay, just behind Hedman (by a whopping margin of 1.18 points out of 60).

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Tampa Bay Lightning Schedule 2023

That offense is something he brings in more than the player he replaces. Maintaining it is key because the best possible defense is a strong offense; Controlling the opponent’s ball is an ideal way to limit their chances of making shots on the contrary.

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Compared to his teammates, Sergachev increased the Lightning’s 5 of 5 expected points to 0.09 of 60, second in defense behind Hedman. Where McDonagh outperformed Sergachev last year was in the chases that led to his escapes and the number of failed attempts he had. Maybe he is ranked higher because that is his specific role compared to his partner. But it is encouraging that Sergachev is only slightly behind him. And that the defender got out of the area with high ball possession. McDonagh’s is a combination of controlled exits and open spaces.

Tampa Bay Lightning Schedule 2023

Now, Sergachev is not expected to be an exact copy of the player he will replace. McDonagh is more defensive, which is well suited to the role – together with Erik Cernak, the latter pair are believed to take down the opponent’s best player. But it is clear that there is some effect to be expected, which he can deliver on his own terms.

The challenge will be to adapt quickly while being able to take on elite strikers. Few players have a tougher workload than Cernak did last season, and it’s a role he will likely continue to take on in the future. It’s not a lot of work Sergachev has had to deal with so far in his NHL career, he’s been pretty well covered. Now he will be revealed.

Tampa Bay Lightning Schedule 2023

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The advantage is that Sergachev gets a strong partner in Cernak who can absorb these minutes. But there’s still room for growth for someone who isn’t always so strong. For now, Sergachev has shown that he can prevent rush opportunities even if a layup attempt takes him. It’s something for him to build on going forward, after a strong season. But taking on this role is no small feat.

The uncertainty of how Sergachev will adjust is what makes this a gamble. There is only a limited amount of time during which the defender must play a larger role than usual. But the aging curves indicate that his peak may be coming. Defensemen tend to peak in their mid-20s, and 24-year-old Sergachev is right there. And based on his 2021-22 season, his path forward could follow the likes of Brent Seabrook or Ryan Suter, who will help keep this Lightning defense alive. But it’s likely he’s not up to the challenge and looks closer to someone like Kyle Quincey or David Savard, which would create quite a few problems for Tampa Bay.

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Tampa Bay Lightning Schedule 2023

Ask the model and the answer is “no, probably not” and you should find out why after how much his stock rose in the knockouts.

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Paul enters the season expected to deliver 0.4 wins. The cut-off for the top six calibers is about a win, with the “top six” potentially slightly above that. According to GSVA, Paul moved closer to the low third liner, mainly due to his time working with the Senators. There, he was a highly ineffective scorer, posting 1.21 points/60 on 5/5 over the previous three seasons, ranking 264th among forwards. At 5v5, he struggled to drive play, producing below-average impact for a club that was on the loose. Paul earns a lot of minutes with the Senators but doesn’t seem like he does much with them.

Tampa Bay Lightning Schedule 2023

With Lightning, it’s a different story. Paul keeps his own 5-5 score and scores a number of timely goals. Throughout the knockout stages, he was a force in every shift, earning plenty of hype with every big match along the way.

At least that’s the story, and stories can sometimes falsify the truth. At first glance, Paul looks good, but his numbers with the Lightning aren’t as strong as you might think.

Tampa Bay Lightning Schedule 2023

Toronto Maple Leafs Vs Tampa Bay Lightning

During the regular season, Paul scored 2.66 points out of 60, but 1.21 of those were extra assists. In the knockout stage, he came closer to his Ottawa pace, at 1.16. Either way, his finishing ability is his best asset – but he’s also shooting 13% in the regular season and playoffs. In the previous three seasons with Ottawa, he scored 7.8%. At five-on-five, his impact on projected goals was a negative against the team, and in the elimination phase he was actually outscored 14-9.


Tampa Bay Lightning Schedule 2023

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