The Tampa Bay Lightning aren’t resting on the laurels of an 8-4-0 start. While that’s been good to get them to second in the Atlantic as one of the more surprising teams in the NHL, there is still a lot of work to be done if this upstart hopes to remain in playoff contention through an 82-game season.
Despite having the reputation as a team that relies heavily on offense to get the job done, the Lightning have gone in the complete opposite direction this season. Only the Buffalo Sabres are averaging fewer shots than the Bolts on a nightly basis right now, with Tampa firing the puck an average of 26.3 times per game.
In the team’s loss to the New Jersey Devils, they shot less than 20 times for the third time this season and are looking to shake up a stagnant forward group. That’s were 2010 draft selection Brett Connolly comes in.
Despite the fact that he’s been mostly ineffective in the AHL this year, it could have something to do with being demoted in the first place. Connolly tied for the preseason lead in goals in Tampa with four He was promptly given the boot without so much as a chance to continue his strong play at the NHL level.
That’s deflating to anyone in any profession, so the slow start in the A shouldn’t be surprising. He’ll get a chance to prove he belongs this time around, and the Lightning would be wise to give him more than a cup of coffee. Connolly was the sixth-overall selection in 2010 but has only seen spotty action in Tampa.
With the team looking for new combinations and strong chemistry, there isn’t a better time to acclimate the youngster to the rigors in the NHL. Here’s your shot kid. Take the puck and run with it.