With the return of their captain, multi-Rocket Richard winner Steven Stamkos, the Bolts promise to right the wrongs of an injury-plagued 2016/17 campaign in which they missed out on the playoffs. Perennially a team with great expectations behind them since their 2015 Stanley Cup Final appearance, Tampa Bay this time look set to challenge for the Atlantic Division title and more.
Having traded away their starting goaltender, the long-limbed Ben Bishop, the Lightning are putting their trust in Russian youngster Andrei Vasilevskiy, keen to embrace his role as the team’s undisputed number one. The defensive core still boasts arguably one of the top two defensemen in the league in the form of their Swedish giant, Norris Trophy contender Victor Hedman.
On top of the presence of Hedman and their shooting star captain, the Lightning possess one of the world’s premiere scoring talents in Nikita Kucherov, fresh off an outstanding season in which his play very nearly secured a playoff spot. If their key players fire on all cylinders and play up to their sky-high abilities, the Lightning should be one of the most exciting teams in the league.