BRANDON — At age 23, Lightning forward Mathieu Joseph already has his name engraved on the Stanley Cup.
But he wants things to be different during his team’s next championship run.
Of the 28 Lightning players that traveled to the Toronto and Edmonton bubbles for last season’s playoffs, Joseph was one of only three (along with goaltenders Curtis McElhinney and Scott Wedgewood) that did not see playing time.
“Obviously, it was a little disappointing not playing in the playoffs in the bubble, but the positive thing was I got to work on my game a lot,” Joseph said. “I got to work on skill a little bit with the coaches, my conditioning, my strength and my puck protection, some stuff I needed to improve.”
Joseph saw action in 37 games during the regular season, which was enough to get his name engraved on the Cup. He had four goals and three assists but spent the season going back-and-forth between the Lightning and its AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch.
Joseph sees this season’s training camp as another opportunity to prove his worth. He spent the offseason in Tampa trying to get ready for the season, working with strength and conditioning coach Mark Lambert and teammates who decided to stay in the area.
“I’m trying to be a good role player for this team and trying to bring whatever coaches are asking me to do,” Joseph said. “I feel good on the ice, and I feel ready.”
Late last month, Joseph signed a one-way, two-year deal with the Lightning worth $1.475 million.
Now, it’s time to get to the business of defending the Cup championship.
“I’m not a one-and-done guy, honestly, in general,” Joseph said.
“I think it’s awesome (we) won it, but that was last year and obviously we’re going to cherish that as a team as long as we can, but also we’re going to have to focus on this season. It’s much better to have more than one Cup than only one, and obviously my goal is to win another one and if I can do it with this group, even better.”