Tampa Bay Lightning: Five reasons for hope in 2023-24

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Tampa Bay Lightning
Apr 18, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Tampa Bay Lightning forward Anthony Cirelli (71) skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during game one of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Tampa Bay Lightning Reasons For Hope: Anthony Cirelli is healthy again

Last year one of the disappointments was Anthony Cirelli. He missed the first two months of the season due to a shoulder sprain he suffered in the 2022 playoffs; his level of play wasn’t quite at the level we have come to expect.

His 29 points in 58 games were in line with what he has done for his career; his underlying numbers were down.

His Corsi was the lowest of his career, his shooting percentage of 7.78% was the second lowest of his career, his penalties drawn per game took a major dip compared to 2021-22, as did the number of hits per game he delivered.

There were bright spots despite the recovering shoulder. His faceoff percentage was in the positive for the first time since 2018-19, the number of high-danger chances he created was the highest of his career despite the shortened season, and his IPP (what percentage of goals scored while on the ice did he get credit for either the goal or an assist) was higher in 2022-23 than in 2021-22.

He will probably get paired with Steven Stamkos and Conner Sheary this season, though he also could stick with Brandon Hagel as the duo had great chemistry when together last season.