There’s a lot of questions about the Tampa Bay Lightning and, so far, very few have been answered. We’ve been over the cap constraints and the moves made by the team thus far, but the core of the Lightning appears to be well on the way of staying intact.
Now, the losses of Kevin Shattenkirk and (potentially) Tyler Johnson and/or Alex Killorn will damper things a bit, but this team is still loaded with talent. When your team is good for as long as the Lightning have been, your players deserve raises and that’s what many of them will get. With the Lightning paying the top dogs like Andrei Vasilevskiy, Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and Victor Hedman the amount they are, cap issues are bound to become a problem.
That doesn’t even begin to address having to pay Brayden Point a substantial raise in the coming years.
But for now, the Lightning look to be on track to be every bit as talented as they were in the 2019-2020 season. So does that mean they’re in the driver’s seat to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions?
Well, not exactly. I mean, they are favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference but not to win the whole thing.
According to OddsChecker.com, the Lightning currently sit with the third highest odds to win the Stanley Cup at +950 – a 9.5% chance – while the Colorado Avalanche are at +800 – or an 11.1% chance. Following the Alex Pietrangelo deal, the Vegas Golden Knights jumped to a +800, putting them in a tie with the Avs. To come out of the Eastern Conference, the Lightning are +400 or a 20% chance to return to the Cup Finals.
OddsChecker’s Pete Watt reached out to me and had this to say about the Lightning;
"“History has shown up just how difficult it is to win consecutive Stanley Cups, and with plenty of teams bleeding plenty of new talent this year, it will be harder than ever.”"
Lightning fans should be confident in their team’s ability to content for another championship very soon – but the odds are beginning to be stacked against them with big impact players being moved around.
Only time will tell if Jon Cooper and his crew are ready for a battle to defend their title.