The beginning of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 2019-20 season has been removed from good. Regardless of posting a constructive 5-Three-1 file via their first 9 video games, the Lightning have regarded a bit lackadaisical on the ice, falling into dangerous habits which have adopted the franchise for years.
Since it’s only October, although, these points needs to be resolved because the Lightning work their approach again into mid-season kind. The group continues to be adjusting to plenty of offseason strikes, so they might want the higher a part of a month to get again on the identical web page as soon as once more.
If there may be one space that could possibly be a priority, nonetheless, it might be Tampa Bay’s star scorers. Regardless that they function among the top-scoring abilities within the NHL, these gamers merely aren’t scoring at their anticipated clip.
9 video games into the 2019-20 season Steven Stamkos is tied for the Tampa Bay Lightning’s goalscoring lead with 4 objectives. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports activities)
This begs the query, is the begin to 2019-20 only a scoring stoop, or is it an indication of concern for among the Lightning’s star gamers?
Lightning Stars Are Slumping
When Kevin Shattenkirk is tied for essentially the most objectives for the Lightning 9 video games into the season, you realize one thing isn’t fairly proper. However that’s the precise state of affairs Tampa Bay finds themselves in at this level of the season.
Key gamers like Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Level and Steven Stamkos merely aren’t discovering the again of the online like one would count on. It’s not that they’re discovering alternatives and taking photographs, however for one purpose or one other, they simply aren’t scoring.
Regardless of being probably the greatest shooters within the NHL, Nikita Kucherov has solely discovered the again of the online 3 times in 9 video games this season. (AP Photograph/Nick Wass)
The excellent news for the Lightning, nonetheless, is that they have been in virtually this very same state of affairs final season. For instance, 9 video games into the 2018-19 season, Kucherov had solely registered three objectives and 9 factors, similar to his scoring output up to now this season.
Issues have been even worse for Stamkos, who solely scored one objective and 5 factors at the moment final season. The one participant who actually excelled early final season was Level, however he missed the beginning of this season with an damage, skewing his scoring totals low.
So, whereas these star gamers could seem like in a little bit of a goal-scoring stoop to begin off the season, it actually isn’t that far out of the bizarre. Does this imply that each one three will repeat as 40-goal scorers? Possible not. However they need to have the ability to rack up loads of objectives this season.
Slower Secondary Scoring Ought to Concern Lightning
Whereas Lightning followers shouldn’t be too involved about their star gamers but, they might have a purpose to fret about among the group’s secondary scorers. Gamers like Tyler Johnson and Yanni Gourde, who contributed greater than 20 objectives every final season.
Gourde has solely scored one objective this season, with Johnson registering two up to now. Whereas these numbers aren’t too far off from the Lightning’s leaders, they’re removed from inspiring.
After scoring 29 objectives within the 2018-19 season, the Lightning want Tyler Johnson to remain scorching and probably break 30 objectives for the primary time in his profession. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
As two of the Lightning’s highest-paid forwards, the franchise wants extra constant manufacturing out of those gamers. They’re anticipated to be, at the very least, 20 objective scorers. If their lackluster scoring continues, they’ll wrestle to achieve that complete, which is able to solely harm the franchise all through the lengthy NHL season.
Depth Scoring Buoying Lightning
Regardless that a few of their star gamers could also be struggling to attain, the Lightning are nonetheless discovering methods to win. This is because of a reliance on depth scoring, with gamers on all strains and defensive pairing contributing to the rating sheet.
Associated: Is the Lightning’s Shattenkirk Gamble Already Paying Off?
If they’ll proceed to get this type of scoring from sudden sources, the Lightning shall be simply effective even when their stars fail to achieve their full scoring potential. Actually, discovering constant manufacturing from all gamers is a type of points that the Bolts wanted to enhance upon after their postseason meltdown, so this will truly be an excellent signal for the longer term.