It is weird not seeing theTampa Bay Lightning not in the Stanley Cup Final this season. This is the first time since 2019 that the Lightning are not playing in the final hockey games of the season, and with today being the potential eve of the final game of the 2023 NHL season, there is no better time to catch up with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Three Key Offseason Storylines To Follow With The Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning finished the 2022-23 NHL season with a record of 46-30-6, good enough for third in the Atlantic Division with 98 points. Their spot in third place was locked by what felt like the half way point of the season, which kind of made it seem like the back half of the season did not matter as much.
With that in mind, the players on the Lightning struggled. Jon cooper benched his three biggest stars Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov, for the entire third period of a game against the Buffalo Sabres in early March. While it seemed like this team would just get into the playoffs and then turn it on, that was not what ended up happening this season.
In a first round rematch against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto ended up winning in six games this time around. Losing in six games to the Leafs is not how the Lightning would have expected to end their season, but when considering that the three final losses all required overtime, this series could have went the other way.
For the first time in three years, the Lightning are getting a little bit more rest this offseason. They have played a lot of hockey over the past few seasons, so getting that extra rest now can really help them find their way going into the 2023-24 season. So let’s take a look at three big storylines to follow this offseason.