Tampa could become a dynasty. The club knows how to get the third Stanley Cup in a row
Dynasty teams have long been a rarity in the NHL. In the twentieth century, this status (and for this it is necessary to win three Stanley Cups in a row or within four years), only six clubs reached: Ottawa (the predecessor of the current Senators, who moved to St. Louis in 1934 and disbanded a year later) , Detroit, Toronto twice, Montreal, Islanders and Edmonton three times. Over the years, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Detroit could have been added to this list, but since 1990 this six has remained unchanged. This was partly due to the fact that until 1967 (by this time five teams-dynasties had been formed) there were only six clubs in the league. On the other hand, even after the expansion of the league, the same franchises were in the forefront for a long time, which were better provided than others from a financial point of view.
By the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the NHL acquired an almost modern look, the situation began to level out, thanks to which teams such as Colorado, New Jersey or Tampa also had the opportunity to be in the Stanley Cup final and win there. The introduction after the end of the lockout in the 2004/2005 season of the ceiling, which in the first year amounted to $ 39 million, as well as the floor of salaries, finally equalized the clubs playing in the NHL, which practically put an end to the dynasties – in such conditions, to claim not just three – to two Stanley Cups in a row looks like a daunting task.
Nevertheless, two clubs managed to achieve this result already in the era of salary ceilings. After Chicago and Los Angeles got close to this, winning three Cups in six years and two in three years respectively, the two teams managed not only to win the title, but also to defend it next season. These are Pittsburgh, which triumphs in 2016 and 2017, as well as Tampa, which won the last two Stanley Cup draws, the first time they did so almost exactly a year ago – September 29, 2020. And it is the “lightning” that now has the best opportunity to become the first dynasty in the 21st century.
Tampa has excellent general managers
Naturally, a combat-ready composition is formed not one or two years. To put together the backbone that will lead the team to the Cup, a lot of work needs to be done, and here general managers come to the fore. At Tampa they work perfectly well – many of the players of the championship squads were acquired by lightning in different years in the drafts. And if the elections of Stemkos, Hedman and Vasilevsky in the first rounds cannot be fully regarded as successful actions of general managers – after all, these players were already quoted highly (although many saw a great risk in such an early choice of Vasilevsky at one time), then the draft of such hockey players like Kucherov (58th choice), Chirelli (72nd), Killorn (77th), Point (79th), Chambers (208th) – that is, almost all of the top 6 – can already be attributed to credit to Steve Yizermanwho collected most of them, as well as Jay Feister , who was the general manager during the first Tampa championship.
Add to that the signing of Tyler Johnson and Yanni Gurd as undrafted free agents, the successful trades of Ben Bishop to Los Angeles, Jonathan Drouen to Montreal, and Vladislav Namestnikov to the Rangers, which gave the Lightning Eric Chernack. Mikhail Sergachev and Ryan McDonagh, and you will receive almost the entire main clip of the 2020 Lightning, which was assembled by Yzerman. His successor, Julien BrisBois, put the finishing touches on that championship line-up by swapping Barkley Goodrow for San Jose and Blake Coleman for New Jersey, making Tampa one of the best third places in the league. He also signed a contract with Patrick Maroon, the rocker in the fourth link.
Tampa head coach is one of the best in the world
But in 2012 he was almost appointed to “Washington”. However, after the departure of General Manager George McPhee , who almost managed to reach an agreement with Cooper, the Capitals chose to play the role of head coach Adam Oates, who briefly stayed in this post. It only took John Cooper one incomplete season to establish himself at Syracuse, Tampa’s farm club, and go to work at Lightning.
Since then, the Lightnings have been one of the most successful teams in the NHL. Three Stanley Cup finals, two of which were victorious, two conference finals and only one playoff skip – no one has achieved better results during this time (since 2013). It’s safe to say that Cooper is one of the best coaches in the world. At the same time, one cannot fail to note the entire system of “Tampa” – many players of the first team went through the farm club, where they were well prepared for playing in the NHL. The actions of “lightning” are well debugged at all levels.
Salary ceiling tricks
Of course, it was not without a bit of luck. Although it is difficult to call it luck the absence of the captain for most of the season, as well as the best player throughout the regular season due to injuries. However, this is precisely what helped Lightning avoid problems with the salary ceilings – the players were placed on a long-term injured list.
In the playoffs, however, this ceiling does not work, which allowed Tampa to go for the second Cup in a row in the strongest line-up, including the team’s Russian star. For fans of other clubs, Kucherov’s return was a reason for indignation and the creation of conspiracy theories that Nikita was not injured at all and that the surplus of “$ 18 million” (in fact, $ 19.7 million) was fictitious. The League conducted an investigation, but found no violations, and the “lightning” made a confident step towards defending the title.
Both Cups were won by Tampa on the case
It is no coincidence or coincidence that the Lightning have won two Stanley Cups. John Cooper’s wards were better than the rest of the rivals in the game, while showing an attractive attacking hockey. The club knows how to get trophies, and they probably have a plan for this season as well. Even despite the loss of the entire third link, Julien BriceBois managed to find all the players, albeit not the most equal – the trio will be really difficult to replace – but quite an adequate replacement. Having gained experience last season, Matthew Joseph and Ross Colton are ready to take the next step in development, and judging by the training camp, they will be helped by the already experienced Corey Perry, who, after two consecutive defeats in the Stanley Cup finals, is probably aiming to get to his second trophy.
And with the protection of the “lightning” everything is decent. The top 4 remained unchanged, there is the growing Cal Foote, on whom the club has high hopes, and the newly arrived Zach Bogosian, who helped the team win the trophy in 2020, looked very good under the leadership of John Cooper. Therefore, the reigning champions have everything in their hands to enter the list of the most elite teams in the NHL. And this time they have everything in order with the ceiling. However, it must be remembered that competitors are not asleep.