With the first round over, let’s take a second to summarize one of the biggest upsets, shall we? According to NHL.com‘s playoff predictions, 48% of the brackets won the Tampa Bay Lightning the Stanley Cup, and just under 2% of the people beat Columbus the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round. The playoffs were such a surprise that the New York Islanders had only one hook that beat the Penguins and Blue Jackets. The user; going through “lolwat” actually remarked that he just made such drastic choices annoy his friend. With that said, what does the future hold for the Tampa Bay Lightning?
The team at Not Your Average Hockey Blog is not very excited for the 2019-2020 Tampa Bay Lightning. We recently did an episode that focused on this exact topic, and you can check it out here. Our analysis suggests that the Lightning will soon be a pet crunch. We expect players like Killorn to be swapped soon to make room for the big RFA elephant in the room; Brayden Point. Our team had a difference in opinion on how much we expect Brayden Point to earn, but one thing is for sure; it will be expensive. Capfriendly is currently projecting the Lightning to have just over $ 6.3 million in pet space, and we all know it just will not cut! So who do we expect the cap accident to be, and what is the price the Lightning will have to pay? Unlike in the past, there is no longer the cap dump team on which teams can only download their bad contracts (we’re looking at you Arizona.). If the Lightning does want to pack a choice or prospect with Killorn to clear up some space, the Lightning is in good condition. They have their upcoming 1st round selection, 3rd round selection, 4th round selection, two 6th round selections and a 7th round selection. Will they have to exchange it as part of a paycheck package? If not, what options are there in terms of prospects?
The Lightning’s secret weapon over the last few years has been their reconnaissance. Tyler Johnson was unallocated, Ondrej Palat was a 7th round pick, and Nikita Kucherov was a 2nd round pick. Their closets remain full of NHL-ready prospects like Carter Verhaeghe, Taylor Raddysh and Cal Foote. Could it be possible that they could be a cheap replacement for departing players?
Maybe the team here at Not Your Average Hockey Blog is wrong. Maybe the chance is in favor of the Lightning. According to SBD, the chance of Tampa Bay winning the President’s trophy was about +150 or a 40% chance, but had an identical chance of +150 to be eliminated in the first round of the 2020 playoffs. This is a drastic difference compared to this year, when they entered the postseason as -375 favorites (~ 79% chance) of advancing past the Blue Jackets. Given how similar the roster is going to look next year, anyone willing to bet on Tampa Bay to win in the first round now is likely to get a better payout than those who wait until the 2020 playoffs really start.
Now that you’ve heard both sides, what do you think? Would you consider waiting before placing a bet, or are you in the camp of higher risk, higher reward. Let us know what you think below!