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Tag: Tampa Bay Lightning

How In The World Do You Stop The Tampa Bay Lightning?

Theodore, Merrill, and the VGK defense were superb against Pittsburgh. Can they do it again to an even higher powered attack? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s a question being asked all around the league and very few have the answers. We chatted with young Golden Knights defensemen Shea Theodore and Jon Merrill to get their thoughts on shutting down Tampa’s high-scoring offense.

When you have teams that come in with strong players, you have to keep it simple and zone in on those guys. Sometimes when you give them too much respect, that’s when they’re at their most dangerous. As a d-man that’s when your gap starts to slide and you’re doing too much watching. -Shea Theodore

It’s no secret the Lightning’s top line is lethal. Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Vladislav Namestnikov have scored 48 goals as a top unit. To compare, the Golden Knights top line has a combined 35 goals. Theodore believes the Golden Knights defense is getting comfortable with defensive challenges.

As you play more and more games you get more comfortable playing with those kind of players. For example, the game against Pittsburgh I thought me and Engo were matched against Crosby all night and we did a good job shutting him down. We tried to eliminate as many scoring chances as we could and I felt like we did a good job. -Theodore

Will Vegas defensemen change their strategy and play more conservative against Tampa?

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Nikita Gusev Still A Year Away

On the night of the Expansion Draft, the Golden Knights agreed to select Jason Garrison from the Tampa Bay Lightning. In exchange, Vegas was to be sent a 2nd round pick in 2017, which the Golden Knights eventually traded for Keegan Kolesar, a 4th round pick in next year’s draft, and a 24-year-old forward from Russia, Nikita Gusev.

Gusev has been playing in the KHL with SKA St. Petersburg since 2015, and has played on the same line as Vadim Shipachyov for a majority of the time. Gusev also played in the IIHF World Championships, again on the same line as Shipachyov, where he scored seven goals and had seven assists in 10 games in route to winning a bronze medal.

But since the trade that sent his rights to Vegas, we haven’t heard much about the Golden Knights’ future plans of the left winger.

Gusev was a seventh-round pick in 2012. He is a playmaking wing who has one year left on his KHL contract with SKA St. Petersburg in Russia. Gusev has no immediate plans to return to North America, his agent, Dan Milstein, said. Yzerman said he didn’t know if Gusev ever would return. –Joe Smith, Tampa Bay Times

He has one year left on his contract in the KHL, and his agent has made it clear he would like to play in the Olympics.

That’s at least a year away, we knew they when we traded for him it might be a year away. But he came for a little bit and we think he liked what he saw, but we’ll have to revisit that next spring. -McPhee

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NMCs Causing All Sorts Of Expansion Speculation

Never before has the NHL world cared more about No Movement Clauses. The most obvious candidate to waive his NMC, Marc-Andre Fleury signed his paperwork after his third ring-fitting. Others like Dion Phaneuf were asked, and though it’s expected he declines, we may have to wait to see the lists to get the final answer.

With the buyout period looming and roster lockdown a few days away, NHL clubs are scrambling to get prepared for the Expansion Draft. However, some teams appear willing to stand pat and take their Vegas lumps.

In Florida, the first reports were that Panthers front office had asked defenseman Keith Yandle to waive his NMC. The 30-year-old signed a seven-year deal last offseason and apparently Florida was willing to chance him in expansion. Updated reports now confirm Yandle was never asked and will not be exposed. Out guess, Yandle was asked, politely declined, and then the team covered his back by saying they never asked.

Either way, Yandle’s exposure would’ve created an interesting dilemma. Had the Golden Knights selected the All-Star defenseman they could’ve scored big in a flip. Established teams are desperate for blueliners and a rock like Yandle would draw plenty of interest. Or, with the long term deal, would the Golden Knights have thought to keep him and make him part of their “Cup in 6” plans.

Other notable players with NMC’s that were not asked to waive; Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Andrew Ladd, Johnny Boychuk, Zdeno Chara, David Backes.

A lot of things are out of my control right now. I don’t know what other teams are discussing with regard to expansion and Vegas. I know what I’d like to do, but we’ll see how it plays out. -Steve Yzerman, Tampa GM

In Tampa, despite speculation, the Lightning did not ask Ryan Callahan to waive his NMC. Reports are GM Steve Yzerman reached out to the Golden Knights and is interested in protecting more players in exchange for picks. The Lightning are also rumored to be shopping stud Jonathon Drouin possibly for a defenseman in Anaheim or Minnesota. Opposing GM’s are calling McPhee but they’re texting one another as well. But even if teams make offers to the Wild it doesn’t mean they’ll agree to a deal prior to the roster lockdown.

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Golden Knights Expansion Trade Rumor Roundup

In less than a week George McPhee will finally have the protection lists in his hands and the Golden Knights will be on the 72 hour Expansion Draft clock. Until then, the hockey world will be buzzing about all the trades that are being discussed in the lead up. It’s time we take a moment to round em all up into one post, and try to make sense of what’s set to go down on June 21st.

Before we start though, we need to clarify something. While McPhee is making calls and probably coming to agreements, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman confirmed no deals will be made official, or even be announced, prior to June 21st. So, tread carefully out there, everyone’s trying to make a name for themselves.

Chicago Blackhawks – The chatter with Chicago started in late May from a pair of tweets from TSN’s Frank Seravalli.

The main question is which way the picks would be going, if any are involved. Chicago has three defensemen with NMCs, so van Riemsdyk would have to be exposed unless one of Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, or Niklas Hjalmarsson waives their NMC, and/or is traded. So, in theory, Vegas would be getting picks in exchange for taking on Marcus Kruger‘s salary, and simply select van Riemsdyk in the Expansion Draft.

Many news outlets, including most notably a news anchor from Kansas City (why?), have reported that Kruger to Vegas is done. The most common return is a 3rd round pick from Chicago. But there’s likely another piece to the puzzle here that’s missing. Whether that’s Chicago “moving a core player” as reported by WSCR’s Jay Zawaski, or Kruger being flipped through Vegas is yet to be seen. Either way, it’s highly probable McPhee makes a deal (or two) with Chicago, but the details out there currently, are likely not telling the whole story.

Columbus Blue Jackets – In Elliotte Friedman’s “30 thoughts” column he mentions murmurs of trade discussions here. The name mentioned is David Clarkson, who is Expansion Draft exempt due to a long term injury. Clarkson’s back will likely keep him off the ice in 2017-18 and could be career ending, however, his cap hit remains at $5.25 million through 2020 (three more seasons). Freidman mentions the 24th overall pick as well as “some young forwards at the AHL level” as possible compensation for Clarkson’s contract. Once again, the details are fuzzy because this would occur outside the parameters of the Expansion Draft. Vegas would still have to select a player from Columbus, so there’s another piece in the mix. Joonas Korpisalo just signed a team-friendly deal, is he involved? Vegas would get rewarded handsomely for taking Clarkson off Columbus’ hands, but there still has to be an Expansion pick, so more is certainly to come on this one.

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Impact Of Ben Bishop’s Injury On Expansion And Las Vegas

Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop had been on an absolute tear and was a huge reason why the Bolts find themselves in the Eastern Conference Finals. That all changed in a moment when Bishop had to be stretchered off the ice with an apparent left leg injury. 21-year-old Andrei Vasilevskiy will now be forced to step in.

With the proposed Expansion Draft rules allowing for teams to only protect one goalie, any news involving solid goalies is significant to Las Vegas.

Bishop has one year left on his contract which will leave him as an unrestricted free agent heading into the 2017-18 season, the expected inaugural season in Vegas.

With Vasilevskiy on the roster and the Expansion Draft looming it’s possible the Bolts could simply let Bishop walk. But based on Bishop’s play throughout the season and in the playoffs it is likely the Lightning would prefer to re-sign him at the end of this year in order to keep him from hitting the free market the following season.

Now with Bishop sidelined, Tampa Bay, and maybe more importantly, the rest of the NHL will have an opportunity to take a look at Vasilevskiy in the most pressure packed games hockey has to offer.

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Study: Fans Are Concerned About Expansion, But Not Terrified

Here in Vegas it’s all positive news about the expansion draft and the rather loose rules that should allow the team to be filled with some solid talent. But around the rest of the country, and Canada, it’s obviously being viewed a bit different.

Every team in the NHL is going to lose at least one player if the league does indeed to expand. Seeing as teams can only protect one goalie, three defenseman, and seven forwards, deeper rosters are certainly at risk of losing a good piece.

So, I decided to take to Reddit to get a gauge of how scared fans really are about the possibility of an expansion draft and the ramifications it will have on their favorite team.

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Mock Expansion Draft – Protected Players – Tampa Bay Lightning

The first step to our mock draft is to establish the list of players that will be available for the Las Vegas franchise to draft. To do this, we decided to have a blogger from each team represent their own franchise and select the players that will be protected from the Mock Expansion Draft available player pool. To see the rules which were followed to protect players, hit this link.

Next up, we have the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning are being represented by John Fontana from RawCharge.com.

Protected Players

Analysis from RawCharge.com:

With Andrei Vasilevskiy all of 21 and Ben Bishop still having time on his contract, it seemed like a sounder decision o protect two goalies than expose the veteran and put all eggs in one basket with the young Russian, that’s why two goalies are protected.

Young talent gets protected over many solid veterans for one reason and one reason alone – money. Steven Stamkos’ next contract was actually a guiding factor and hoping to make some cap room by ditching large contracts in Callahan or Filppula or Carle. Condra and Brown are not high-priced talent but lower line contributors who could be replaced via organizational depth.

This list is not based on long term but immediate future is part of it – salary and the salary cap is what is the driving force behind the exposure of Ryan Callahan, Valtteri Filppula, Matt Carle and Brayden Coburn.

The entire list of unprotected players that will be available for Team Lane and Team Pothier to select from can be found here.

To see more team explanations just like this one, check out The Sin Bin Mock Expansion Draft Landing Page.

Special thanks again to John Fontana from RawCharge.com. Be sure to follow @RawCharge and @Johnny_Fonts on Twitter, and heck, throw us (@SinBinVegas) a follow too while you’re at it.

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