What’s in store for the league this season? Our staff has thoughts.
Lightning have a shot at the Stanley Cup if …
Eduardo A. Encina, staff writer: Timetables come true and the Lightning are able to get the biggest playoff acquisition possible: a healthy Nikita Kucherov for the postseason.
Mari Faiello, staff writer: They can actually play through the season and Nikita Kucherov is healthy enough — and ready — to return. Special teams (especially the power play without Kucherov at the point) also will make an impact.
John Romano, sports columnist: If Nikita Kucherov comes back before the regular season ends. The Lightning cannot survive the postseason without him, and he’ll need time to find his groove.
Frank Pastor, assistant sports editor: They don’t forget the lessons from last season’s championship season, such as responsible two-way play, winning battles along the boards, creating traffic in front of opposing goaltenders and getting pucks to the net.
Biggest threat to Lightning’s Stanley Cup hopes
Encina: Any extended absence of Andrei Vasilevskiy
Faiello: The coronavirus
Romano: Victor Hedman turning an ankle
Which team will be the biggest surprise?
Which team will be the biggest disappointment?
Which team will win the Central Division?
Which team will not advance to the postseason?
Encina: Blue Jackets
Faiello: Red Wings
Romano: Red Wings
Pastor: Red Wings
Which teams will play in the Stanley Cup final?
Encina: Lightning, Avalanche
Faiello: Lightning, Avalanche
Romano: Capitals, Lightning
Pastor: Lightning, Bruins
Which team will win the Stanley Cup?
Most outstanding player for the Lightning?
Encina: Brayden Point
Faiello: Victor Hedman
Romano: Victor Hedman
Pastor: Andrei Vasilevskiy
Breakout star for the Lightning?
Encina: Anthony Cirelli
Faiello: Alex Volkov
Romano: Alex Volkov
Pastor: Mikhail Sergachev
• • •