Eduardo A. Encina - Lightning Reporter

Lightning Reporter

I’m back for my second stint at the Tampa Bay Times. You may recognize my byline from back in the day when I covered the Rays, Lightning and high school sports. After seven years working in my hometown of Baltimore as the lead Orioles writer at The Baltimore Sun, I’m back covering the Lightning. If you have a story idea, email me, tweet me or send me a three-eyed raven. When I’m not working, I’m likely outside hiking (preferably out of cell-phone range), getting charged by a mountain goat, Instagramming my food, plotting my second career as an astronaut or taking hacks at the nearest indoor batting cage.

  1. The Lightning made defenseman Roman Schmidt their first pick of the 2021 draft in the third round, 96th overall.
  2. The Seattle Kraken chose former Lightning third-line center Yanni Gourde to be one of the franchise’s building blocks.
  3. Barclay Goodrow, left, was part of the Lightning’s top penalty-kill unit and force on the gritty third line.
  4. Ryan McDonagh was arguably the top defenseman in the postseason. Will the Lightning risk leaving him unprotected for the expansion draft, thinking the Kraken won't take on his salary, or will other players like Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat, Yanni Gourde and Tyler Johnson go unprotected instead?
  5. Defenseman Victor Hedman, center, was one of several Lightning players not at 100 percent, health-wise, during the playoff run.
  6. At this point during Monday's celebration, with Victor Hedman, left, and Steven Stamkos showing off their championship hardware to fans, the Stanley Cup was still intact.
  7. Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn drives a jet ski while holding the Stanley Cup as teammate Nikita Kucherov gestures to the crowd while celebrating the Lightning’s Stanley Cup victory with a boat parade Monday, July 12, 2021 in Tampa.
  8. The Lightning's Alex Killorn celebrates during the 2020 victory boat parade in Tampa after the team wins the Stanley Cup.
  9. Lightning defenseman David Savard (58), center Steven Stamkos (91) and center Anthony Cirelli (71) surround Ross Colton after the rookie scores during the second period of Game 5 against the Canadiens. It wound up being the only goal of the game and clinched another Stanley Cup for Tampa Bay.
  10. Lightning wing Barclay Goodrow (19), down on the ice after blocking a shot against the Montreal Canadiens in the third period of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final Wednesday at Amalie Arena.
  11. Nikita Kucherov’s shirtless, beer-guzzling press conference following the Lightning’s Stanley Cup-clinching Game 5 win Wednesday night drew the attention of Bud Light.
  12. Nikita Kucherov, pictured celebrating with fans following the Lightning's Stanley Cup-clinching win Wednesday at Amalie Arena, played the final six games of the playoff run with a cracked rib.
  13. Lightning head coach Jon Cooper celebrates with Andrei Vasilevskiy (88), Nikita Kucherov (86) and Mikhail Sergachev (98) after taking a selfie with them during the Stanley Cup party on the ice.
  14. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos kisses the Stanley Cup after the Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 Wednesday.
  15. Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh has been a superstar in his own right this postseason, on and off the ice.
  16. Canadiens right wing Josh Anderson shoots to score the winning goal against Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy in overtime of Game 4.
  17. Family and friends cheer as the Lightning's plane arrives at Tampa International Airport the day after they won the 2020 Stanley Cup in September.
  18. Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) celebrates with teammates Barclay Goodrow (19), Yanni Gourde (37) and Mikhail Sergachev (98) after the Lightning's Game 3 win over the Canadiens Friday in Montreal.
  19. All Nikita Kucherov has done this postseason is lead the league with 32 points ... after not playing a single game of the regular season thanks to hip surgery.
  20. People are out and about in Montreal celebrating the Canadiens, but the Lightning have to remain in a bubble environment while in the country.
  21. Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9) celebrates  with teammate Mathieu Joseph (7) after beating Canadiens goaltender Carey Price during second-period action in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final in Montreal.
  22. NBC Sports' Kathryn Tappen, left, Eddie Olczyk, center, and Brian Boucher, right, are pictured in the studio during a game in 2018.
  23. As soon as he steps on the ice, center Yanni Gourde, pictured during warmups before Game 2, provides energy for the Lightning.