4 Big Questions for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020-21

The Tampa Bay Lightning . Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
The Tampa Bay Lightning . Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cal Foote (25)
Cal Foote #25 of the Kelowna Rockets. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images) /

3. Can Cal Foote shine in his rookie year?

One of the heavy prices you pay for being successful is that you miss out on high draft picks and, therefore, the chance to select elite studs early in the First Round.

And, as for the Tampa Bay Lightning, not only are they consistently picking at the end of the First Round, but they have also leveraged a large chunk of their future in order to win now.

Giving up high Draft picks and high-end prospects in the ilk of forward Nolan Foote in order to acquire pieces to win now obviously paid off handsomely for the Lightning, but the bill has to be paid at some point and you need talent in the farm system in order to reload.

Well, while their pipeline is somewhat depleted, we will see one of the franchise’s bright young hopes tonight with prospect defenseman Cal Foote having cracked the Opening Night roster.

Drafted with the 14th overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, there are high hopes for Foote who is a two-way defenseman who can read the play, contribute to special teams, use his powerful 6-foot-4 and 220 pound frame to dominate in his own end and also play a real consistent game.

The son of retired NHL veteran Adam Foote, Cal will make his NHL debut Wednesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks and will be paired with veteran Ryan McDonagh in the top-four, which will be an invaluable experience.

Having a seasoned pro like McDonagh alongside him will help to ease the transition to the NHL for Foote, who could well stay on the roster all year-long as long as he impresses.

After all, with the likes of Kevin Shattenkirk and Braydon Coburn leaving during the offseason, there is a chance for a young stud to really make his mark on this veteran-heavy team, and the Tampa Bay Lightning will hope that one of their best prospects in Cal Foote can establish himself as an NHL regular in 2020-21.