The Lightning burst out of the gate this past season only to simmer for the latter half. Kucherov lit the league on fire through the first 30+ games only to go months without a powerplay goal. We held onto the division banner by a single point after having a massive lead. We tore through the first two round of the playoffs only to see the unlikely capitals outplay us heavily through the last two games of the series enabling them to go for the cup. Our season saw lots of ups only to be ultimately let down.
We saw subtractions such as Namestnikov, Brown, Howden, Hajek and additions of JT Miller and Ryan McDonagh over the span of the season.
Miller proved to have unseen value in the trade and was signed to a 5 year deal worth 5.25 Million per year. McDonagh likewise was signed to a max 8 year deal at 6.75 Million, which will likely come back to hurt as he will be 37 upon expiry of the deal.
The draft has come around and we drafted 5 players and 2 goalies. Gabriel Fortier (2nd round), Dmitry Semykin (3rd round) and Radim Salda (7th round) that catch my interest.
Fortier has medal several times over the years including a QMAAA Championship and gold at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament, he is a smallish C like many of our forwards that we have been able to develop.
Semykin is described as a big, physical, Right handed two way d-man that despite being on the worst team in the MHL was also the only player on his team to manage a positive +/- rating.
Salda is said to be going to the Czech league and will hopefully improve on his defensive game after posting a concerning -37, but showed serious offensive prowess with 10 G and 41 Pts through 62 games giving him the second most points on his team.
Green and Koepke are both already 20 years of age and are possible additions to Syracuse as soon as a season from now. Green as a RHD man that can help kill penalties (lacks physicality) and Koepke who is described as a sniper.
Chrona and Taylor both appear likely to advance their careers in their respective leagues/areas and should provide both competition and stability in the crease years down the line.
Since the draft we have seen signings of some of our pre-existing players and have subtracted Sustr, Peca, Kunitz and Budaj to name a few of the more significant names. All of whom appear to have replacements lined up on cheaper deals.
The roster would appear to be strong going into next offseason with a solid forward group and a top 4 D to make most hockey fans drool. Not to mention the one-two punch of Vasilevskiy and Dominque is quite appetizing.
Given young players such as Koekkoek, Erne, Cirelli in need of more ice time and a plethora of other promising prospects competing in the minors the 2018-19 season is appearing more than just interesting, but we should see a couple new names compete for ice-time with the big club at some point through the season.
For now this is all i've got, but I intend to keep writing. Drop a comment if you got suggestions for another blog or if you have opinions on something I have written hear or anything at all you'd like to say drop it in the comments. Thanks for reading!