The Lightning have emerged as a chic midsummer pick to challenge for the Stanley Cup (see here, and here… and here.)
But are those predictions warranted?
It’s an interesting debate. Those in the “yes” camp will point to a pretty good team from a year ago that made significant offseason upgrades in Anton Stralman, Brian Boyle, Jason Garrison, Brenden Morrow and Evgeni Nabokov. Steve Stamkos is arguably the league’s purest goalscorer, Ben Bishop and Jon Cooper were Vezina and Jack Adams finalists and the number of young talents (Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Alex Killorn, Nikita Kucherov) could be joined by an incoming crop of equally gifted prospects (Jonathan Drouin, Brett Connolly, Vladislav Namestnikov and Adam Erne.)
Those in the “no” camp, however, will probably suggest tapping the brakes.
For all the hype surrounding the Bolts, they’ve only made the playoffs once in the last three years and haven’t won a postseason game since 2011, when Guy Boucher was the head coach and Vinny Lecavalier was team captain. There’s been a huge overhaul since and, as a result, the longest-tenured guys on the team are Stamkos and Victor Hedman. There’s also the reliance on Bishop, who had a fantastic ’13-14 campaign but has no track record of sustained success as an NHL starter. He alluded to as much upon signing a two-year extension earlier this month, saying “I think I’ve still got to prove myself,” and “I don’t want to be a one-hit wonder.”
With those two differing opinions in mind, we turn it over to the PHT faithful — are the Bolts legit Stanley Cup contenders?
Crouse brings the ‘total package’ of size, skill and speed to Coyotes
The Coyotes had to take on the contract of injured forward Dave Bolland, but in their minds, it was worth it to get a player like Crouse, who certainly brings size up front at six-foot-four-inches tall and 212 pounds. He had 23 goals and 62 points in 49 games this season with Kingston in the OHL.
“He’s a guy that you add the size and he actually enhances that for your entire group. In our opinion, it was a guy that’s rare to find, difficult to obtain. Certainly, once they become established in the league, those players are locked up well into their 30s and then you end up trying to maybe overpay for a player that has these attributes that’s not in the prime of his career.”
Crouse, who turned 19 years old in June, now joins the likes of Max Domi, Dylan Strome and Anthony Duclair as part of Arizona’s group of up-and-coming young forwards. He has familiarity with all three from playing in the OHL or for Team Canada at the world juniors.
“He can fly. He’s fast and he hits and he scores goals. You kinda get the total package,” Strome told Sportsnet.
Last week domain names were registered that might be an indicator that the NHL team scheduled to begin play in 2017 could be called the Las Vegas Desert Knights.
Last week the domains lasvegasdesertknights.com, vegasdesertknights.com and desertknightshockey.com were privately registered to Moniker Privacy Services, which is the same company that procured the domain name to NHL.com.
DetroitHockey.net first reported the new domain name Thursday morning.
Foley said via text message he had no comment regarding the process when reached by the Review-Journal.
Scott Luce has gone from the Florida Panthers to the Las Vegas expansion franchise.
The new NHL organization — still searching for a team name — announced Thursday that it has hired Luce as its new director of amateur scouting.
Luce spent the last 14 years in Florida, as a scout and as director of player personnel.
Luce was let go earlier in the offseason, as the Panthers underwent massive change within their front office, with the promotion of Dale Tallon to president of hockey operations and Tom Rowe to GM, and more attention to analytics.