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Is Alex Killorn good enough to stay on the Lightning’s roster?

Killorn brings consistency to the ice, but his $4.5 million contract creates questions about his future in Tampa Bay
Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) celebrates his hat trick against the Washington Capitals on March 16. The game proved to be one of Killorn's defining moments in 2018-19. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) celebrates his hat trick against the Washington Capitals on March 16. The game proved to be one of Killorn's defining moments in 2018-19. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Published May 13, 2019

(This is the ninth in a series this month looking at each player on the Lightning’s roster. Up next: Anthony Cirelli)

TAMPA — He put one shot on net from the boards, and it skipped off a defender and past the goalie.

Then he skipped ahead on a rush and knocked in a rebound.

Then in the waning seconds, he hustled after a loose puck and shot it into the empty net.

One by one, each of the shots reached the back of the net until Alex Killorn had notched his third goal of the night.

The first hat trick of Killorn’s career came in one of the Lightning’s biggest games. The Lightning had waited nearly all season to play the Capitals — 72 games to be exact — and that only made the stakes higher after it faded against Washington with consecutive shutout losses in the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals.

Related: MORE LIGHTNING: Nikita Kucherov achieved superstar status, but there's still something missing

Emotion played a role in Tampa Bay’s 6-3 victory that night, but Killorn’s play also proved pivotal. He’s fluid yet physical. He’s not the fastest skater, but skates well and smartly finds ways to create scoring opportunities.

It’s the same style of play he has shown Tampa Bay for seven seasons. He’s one of the core players that has consistently shown up for Tampa Bay.

The problem, however, may lie in the fact he’s in a middle group. Good not great, his hefty contract lingers in a time where the franchise looks for cap money to re-sign emerging superstar Brayden Point.

You can’t call Killorn an offensive star by any means, and he didn’t quite contribute this season the way he did in 2017-18. However, other teams covet his presence and the quiet leadership he lent to Tampa Bay’s third and fourth lines.

Related: MORE LIGHTNING: Mikhail Sergachev's versatility filled various voids for the Lightning this season

Killorn scored intermittently, not really having a hot streak, but not having a drought where he didn’t replenish with a goal or assist here and there.

He even notched the league’s first goal of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs on a shorthanded breakaway against Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

J.T. Miller and Yanni Gourde, frequently Killorn’s third- and fourth-line mates, will make more than Killorn for the 2019-20 season. Tyler Johnson currently makes $5 million a season.

Is Killorn’s steady play good enough to keep him on the roster at $4.45 million a season? Or is it just enough to prompt executives to consider other options?

In the end, the choice may come down to Killorn’s consistency versus Killorn’s contract.

Killorn’s season

High: Killorn’s first career hat trick in Tampa Bay’s first win over the Capitals, the reigning Cup champions. It helped Tampa Bay notch a 6-3 win at home on March 16.

Low: Killorn sustained a left knee injury in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup playoffs against Columbus, yet, he still played in Game 4. In his exit interview, he said he had a slight tear in his MCL that would require rehab in the off-season.

By the numbers:

82 games played this season, the second-straight year he has played in every game

18 goals this year, one goal short of matching a career-high and a count that included two power play goals and two game-winning goals

22 plus-minus, matching his career high from 2017-18

40 points this season, ninth on the Lightning’s roster

Contact Mari Faiello at Follow @faiello_mari.


  1. The Lightning signed defenseman Zach Bogosian, whose contract was terminated by Buffalo earlier this week.
  2. Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin poses with the puck commemorating his 700th career NHL goal that he scored against the New Jersey Devils in the third period at Prudential Center on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Newark, New Jersey.
  3. Carolina Hurricanes right wing Nino Niederreiter (21) and center Martin Necas (88) speak to Hurricanes emergency goalie David Ayres as he takes the ice against the Toronto Maple Leafs during second-period NHL hockey game action in Toronto, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
  4. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) gives up a goal to Arizona Coyotes' Derek Stepan as Lightning defenseman Luke Schenn (2) slides along the ice and Coyotes right wing Conor Garland (83) looks at the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz.
  5. Fans gather in Thunder Alley at Amalie Arena before the start of the 2019-2020 NHL season home opener between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers on Thursday, October 3, 2019, in Tampa.
  6. Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cedric Paquette shoots as Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury defends during the third period Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Las Vegas. The Golden Knights won 5-3.
  7. Columbus left wing Artemi Panarin (9) and Columbus Blue Jackets center Matt Duchene (95) celebrate in front of the Lightning bench during the Blue Jackets' first-round victory over Tampa Bay in the first round of the 2019 NHL Playoffs. The four-game sweep was Columbus' payoff for a few deals at the trade deadline for players with expiring contracts.
  8. Vegas Golden Knights center Paul Stastny (26) scores against Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Las Vegas.
  9. The Lightning traded Danick Martel to the Panthers for Anthony Greco.
  10. Trading Martin St. Louis was hard, but the Lightning's return turned out to be even better than they thought at the time.
  11. Colorado Avalanche left wing J.T. Compher, left, flies into Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Curtis McElhinney while pursuing the puck in the third period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, in Denver. The Lightning won 4-3 in overtime.
  12. Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, right, drives past Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon to score the winning goal in overtime of an NHL hockey game Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, in Denver. The Lightning won 4-3.