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Can the Lightning win without Stamkos?

The Tampa Bay Lightning think they can win without their captain, Steven Stamkos. Steve Yzerman announced on Saturday that Stamkos has a blood clot in his arm and will have surgery. Let’s take a look at how the team stacks up without Steven Stamkos.

He’ll have vascular surgery on Monday and is expected to make a full recovery.

Now, can the Lightning be successful without their captain?

Currently, he leads the team with 36 goals and is second on the team with 64 points. Nikita Kucherov (who’s in a contract year) has 30 goals, and leads the team with 65 points. He is a very gifted, Russian scorer. We all know that the Palat-Johnson-Kucherov line isn’t nearly as good as it was last season. However, Kucherov has stepped up his game to another level. He is playing like an elite scoring winger, who can lead a team to victory. Is this the situation that may prove that?

Points Leaders – Tampa Bay:

  1. N. Kucherov – 65
  2. S. Stamkos – 64
  3. V. Hedman – 47
  4. A. Killorn – 40
  5. O. Palat – 37
  6. T. Johnson – 37
  7. A. Stralman – 34
  8. V. Namestnikov – 33
  9. R. Callahan – 28
  10. V. Filppula – 28

They will need to see a lot more contribution from Palat and Johnson to be successful. As you see above, the scoring is mostly Kucherov and Stamkos, then goes down to Hedman, who is a defenseman. You will see a few names who have stepped up big this year; Alex Killorn and Vladislav Namestnikov. Killorn has put up 40 points this season, and has been a top-five scorer on the Lightning this season. His career high is 41, in 82 games in 2013-14. He has 40 in 78 games this year, could possibly be a career high for him this year. Namestnikov has put up 33 points in 77 games, a career high. He is tied for second on the team in plus/minus and has been a great secondary scorer for the Lightning this season.

They will also need to see good, solid defense, along with good goaltending. I can’t see Ben Bishop or Andrei Vasilevsky having a problem when it comes to goaltending. That is definitely a solid tandem, that any team in the National Hockey League would love to have.

Tampa’s defense is pretty solid also, with two of them being in their top 10 in scoring. Also, 3 defensemen in the top 10 in team plus/minus isn’t a bad thing either. Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman both are atop the plus/minus leaders for the Lightning, with 21 and 16 respectively. I can’t see Tampa being pushed out of the playoffs due to an incapable defense.

Plus Minus Leaders – Tampa Bay

  1. V. Hedman – 21
  2. A. Stralman – 16
  3. V. Namestnikov – 16
  4. J. Brown – 16
  5. A. Killorn – 12
  6. B. Coburn – 11
  7. O. Palat – 10
  8. N. Kucherov – 8
  9. T. Johnson – 5
  10. M. Blunden – 5
  11. S. Stamkos – 3

The majority of their top-six forwards aren’t that high of a plus. Seeing Steven Stamkos being only a plus three. In order for Tampa Bay to be successful without their captain, they will need significantly better play from a few of their top-six forwards. Mainly, Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson.

Projected lines without Stamkos:

Forwards

Palat – Johnson – Kucherov

Killorn – Filppula – Brown

Paquette – Namestnikov – Callahan

Blunden – Boyle – Condra

Defense:

Hedman – Carle

Garrison – Sustr

Coburn – Nesterov

Goalies:

Bishop

Vasilevsky

Coleton MacDonald
The Founder of Weliveforhockey.com
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