Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Lightning

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]
Published May 13

(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.

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.

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 mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) and defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) look on as the Minnesota Wild celebrate their goal scored by right wing Mats Zuccarello (36) to go up 5 to 4 during third period action at Amalie Arena on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019 in Tampa. The Wild scored the goal just 8 seconds after Lightning Alex Killorn (17) scored a goal to tie the score 4-4. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    They believe they’re playing well but their lapses have been costly.
  2. The scoreboard on 90's night before the Tampa Bay Lightning take on the Minnesota Wild at Amalie Arena on DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The few players who remember the 90′s shared their favorite parts of the decade
  3. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) and defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) look on as the Minnesota Wild celebrate their goal scored by right wing Mats Zuccarello (36) to go up 5 to 4 during third period action at Amalie Arena on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019 in Tampa. The Wild scored the goal just 8 seconds after Lightning Alex Killorn (17) scored a goal to tie the score 4-4. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Tampa Bay gives up five goals, leaving the coach to slam its defensive effort.
  4. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) celebrates beating Minnesota Wild goaltender Alex Stalock (32) to score his 100th career goal during second period action at Amalie Arena on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019 in Tampa. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The loss to Minnesota puts a damper on the milestone, but he’s the first Tampa Bay defenseman to do it.
  5. Hedman scores his 100th career goal as the Bolts are defeated
  6. This undated photo provided by the Cook County Jail in Grand Marais, Minn., shows Mark Pavelich. The family of Pavelich, a player on the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" Olympic hockey team, believes concussions and blows he received during his playing career have contributed to his current legal troubles. He is charged with beating a neighbor with a metal pole.  (Cook County Jail via AP) AP
    The family of Mark Pavelich, who assisted on the winning goal in the 1980 victory over the Soviet Union, believes he has been affected by repeated concussions from his playing days.
  7. Predators center Ryan Johansen was fined $5,000 for elbowing the Lightning's Brayden Point in the head in Tuesday's game. MARK HUMPHREY  |  AP
    Point left Tuesday’s game but returned.
  8. Tampa Bay Lightning center Cory Conacher (89) warms up before an NHL hockey game against the Anaheim Ducks Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. JASON BEHNKEN  |  AP
    That is a good sign about the status of Alex Killorn, who has been out with a lower-body injury.
  9. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) looks on as the St. Louis Blues celebrates their shorthanded goal scored by Blues center Oskar Sundqvist (70) during second period action at Amalie Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 in Tampa.  DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The standings can be misleading and the team has been playing well, even if it’s not winning at a rate Tampa Bay is accustomed to winning.
  10. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88), of Russia, blocks a shot by Nashville Predators center Calle Jarnkrok (19), of Sweden, in the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. MARK HUMPHREY  |  AP
    Tampa Bay had lost three straight before posting a 3-2 overtime victory over the Predators.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement