Despite losing their top goal-scorer for more than half the season and trading away their leading point producer, the Tampa Bay Lightning reached the playoffs for the second time in the past seven years and, with a young roster, appear to be moving in the right direction. Goedkope Nike Air Max . Off-Season Game Plan looks at a Tampa Bay Lightning club that, because of all their young players, has lots of flexibility. Veteran defenceman Eric Brewer is in his mid-30s, as is winger Ryan Malone (and who knows what his future holds?), but with Sami Salo headed for free agency, and Martin St. Louis traded, the Lightning have turned to the next generation. That generation is led by 24-year-old Steven Stamkos, one of the games brightest offensive talents, and 23-year-old Victor Hedman, a rising star on the blueline. This past season saw rookies Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, Radko Gudas, J.T. Brown, Nikita Kucherov, Richard Panik, Mark Barberio and Andrej Sustr all play more than 600 minutes for Tampa Bay. Thats some solid foundation building. Not all of those young players are going to be what the Lightning hope, but a lot of them could be contributors and they already provide a competent and inexpensive supporting cast. The Lightning have to go into next season with their eyes wide open, recognizing that part of their success last season was due to Ben Bishops terrific goaltending and if that regresses, as sometimes happens with goaltenders, there will be some statistical challenges to overcome, but there are options available to improve the goaltending if need be. They are an above-average possession team and have a roster of young players that offer potential for internal improvement. Maybe that next generation isnt quite Cup-ready, but the Lightning have lots of reasons to be hopeful for their future. The TSN.ca Rating is an efficiency rating based on per-game statistics including goals and assists -- weighted for strength (ie. power play, even, shorthanded) -- Corsi, adjusted for zone starts, quality of competition and quality of teammates, hits, blocked shots, penalty differential and faceoffs. Generally, a replacement-level player is around a 60, a top six forward and top four defenceman will be around 70, stars will be over 80 and MVP candidates could go over 90. Sidney Crosby finished at the top of the 2013-2014 regular season ratings at 87.12. Salary cap information all comes from the indispensable www.capgeek.com. CF% = Corsi percentage (ie. percentage of 5-on-5 shot attempts), via www.extraskater.com. GM/COACHSteve Yzerman/Jon Cooper Returning Forwards Player Rating GP G A PTS CF% Cap Hit Steven Stamkos 85.38 37 25 15 40 52.4% $7.5M Valtteri Filppula 73.22 75 25 33 58 52.4% $5.0M Tyler Johnson 70.92 82 24 26 50 51.0% $3.333M Teddy Purcell 65.98 81 12 30 42 53.6% $4.5M Nikita Kucherov 64.18 52 9 9 18 53.8% $712K Ryan Malone 60.76 57 5 10 15 50.4% $4.5M Nate Thompson 60.32 81 9 7 16 51.0% $1.6M B.J. Crombeen 57.78 55 3 7 10 48.4% $1.15M Free Agent Forwards Player Rating GP G A PTS CF% Class 13-14 Cap Hit Ondrej Palat 74.07 81 23 36 59 50.9% RFA $579K Ryan Callahan 68.18 65 17 19 36 50.7% UFA $4.275M Alex Killorn 67.21 82 17 24 41 51.7% RFA $875K J.T. Brown 62.01 63 4 15 19 51.8% RFA $874K Richard Panik 58.79 50 3 10 13 48.3% RFA $900K Tom Pyatt 56.36 27 3 4 7 48.4% UFA $600K A fractured tibia caused Steven Stamkos to miss 45 games, the first games he missed since his rookie season, and even if he wasnt 100% when he returned to the lineup, Stamkos is a finisher with few, if any, peers. No one has scored more goals in the past five seasons, and he does it with a ridiculous 18.2% shooting percentage, also the best in the league. The challenge for Stamkos, going forward, is that he wont have Martin St. Louis on his wing and after Stamkos returned from his injury -- at a point once St. Louis had been traded to the New York Rangers -- he managed 21 points (8 G, 13 A) in 24 (regular season plus playoff) games. A healthy Stamkos is an elite performer, but the Lightning will need to provide support that will allow him to produce at his customary high level. Signed as a free agent last summer, following a season in which he had a career-low on-ice shooting percentage, Valtteri Filppula bounced back with the second-best offensive production of his season, playing a career-high 19:59 per game. He had solid possession stats while facing quality opposition, just the kind of results teams like to get out of a second-line centre. A lack of size may have made the climb more difficult for Tyler Johnson, but he established his place as an NHLer last season, playing every game and taking on big minutes once Stamkos was hurt. Johnson played in all situations, tied for the rookie goal-scoring lead, with 24 goals, and ranked third among freshmen with 50 points. Not bad for an undrafted free agent. Despite having the best possession stats among Lightning forwards last season, Teddy Purcell had his least productive season in four years with the Lightning. Over the past four seasons, though, Purcell has scored 194 points, which ranks 57th among NHL forwards, so he can certainly take a spot among Tampa Bays top six forwards. Skilled winger Nikita Kucherov had an impressive rookie season, even if his offensive production was relatively modest. He had a low on-ice shooting percentage, but his possession stats were great. After 24 points in 17 AHL games and 87 points in 47 (regular season plus playoff) games in the QMJHL the year before, Kucherov has the pedigree of a scorer. Injuries have been catching up to LW Ryan Malone, who has missed 116 games in six seasons with the Lightning, and he saw his role drastically reduced last season, playing a career-low 11:47 per game. Busted for DUI and cocaine possession at the end of the regular season, Malone could have the final year of his contract bought out. A gritty checker who starts a disproportionate percentage of his shifts in the defensive zone, Nate Thompson doesnt produce much offence, though his ice time was down to 12:52 per game last season, his lowest since 2008-2009. B.J. Crombeen is one of the leagues more prolific fighters in the league, with 90 fights in 387 career games, and while hes scored only five goals in the past three seasons, he does get more ice time than the typical one-dimensional pugilist. A seventh-round pick in 2011, Ondrej Palat had a phenomenal rookie season, handling more responsibility as the year went on, scoring 47 points in his last 45 games. He was fortunate, in terms of percentages, at both ends of the rink, so its quite possible that Palat could regress next season, but a two-way player with skill should be a big part of the Lightnings plans. Alex Killorn is a nice complementary piece, a winger with size and skill who can play on a scoring line and put up adequate possession stats in that role, though he slumped in the second half of the year, scoring five goals in the last 34 games. Statistically, J.T. Brown may be something of Palats opposite. Brown had solid possession stats as a rookie, but was one of the lowest-percentage finishers in the league last season and his combined on-ice shooting and save percentages (PDO) were at the low end. Even if Brown isnt necessarily going to be a big scorer in the NHL (he has 38 points in 64 AHL games), he is effectively due for better luck in the future. Similarly, Richard Panik had the lowest PDO among Lightning skaters (minimum 25 games) last season, so hes due for some bounceback, but he also had poor possession stats, so the 23-year-old is still battling for a regular spot in the lineup. Returning Defence Player Rating GP G A PTS CF% Cap Hit Victor Hedman 78.51 75 13 42 55 53.9% $4.0M Matt Carle 65.69 82 2 29 31 47.8% $5.5M Radko Gudas 65.39 73 3 19 22 49.1% $992K Eric Brewer 62.60 77 4 13 17 50.3% $3.875M Mattias Ohlund $3.607M Free Agent Defence Player Rating GP G A PTS CF% Class 13-14 Cap Hit Mike Kostka 70.39 28 4 7 11 52.2% UFA $625K Mark Barberio 62.30 49 5 5 10 53.0% RFA $605K Sami Salo 62.04 71 4 13 17 52.0% UFA $3.75M Andrej Sustr 60.99 43 1 7 8 50.5% RFA $1.35M Keith Aulie 57.23 15 0 1 1 41.6% RFA $975K While the Swedish Olympic team didnt see fit to select Victor Hedman last season, he performed at a very high level last season, like a Norris-Trophy-candidate level, setting career-highs in goals (13), assists (42) and points (55) during a season in which the Lightnings most skilled forward missed more than half the year and their second-best offensive threat was traded at the deadline. Matt Carle is very durable puck-moving blueliner, having not missed a game in the past four seasons, though his relative possession numbers declined sharply after taking on more difficult competition last season. No defenceman in the league had more combined hits and blocked shots than the 411 registered by Radko Gudas, who also led all defencemen with 152 penalty minutes. Hes a battler, but his relative possession stats could use some improvement, especially considering that he started more shifts in the offensive zone. Now 35-years-old, veteran Eric Brewer had his role decrease last season, playing 17:33 per game, his lowest average time on ice since his rookie year of 1998-1999, but he works in that third-pair role. Hes 35 games away from reaching 1,000 for his career. Though he couldnt earn a regular spot on the Lightning blueline, Mark Barberio was effective when he played. If he could build on that rookie season, then Barberio may be able to fit into the top six next season. A free agent signing out of the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 2013, Andrej Sustr played more in the NHL during his first pro season. The 6-foot-8 defender could still use further seasoning, but also has a chance to land a spot on the Tampa Bay blueline for next season. 6-foot-6 blueliner Keith Aulie has provided ample evidence that hes not capable of handling regular duty in the NHL. Over the past four seasons, his puck possession numbers are near the worst among NHL defencemen. If the Lightning lose Sami Salo as a free agent, thats a hole that ought to be addressed. Other free agents, like Anton Stralman, Tom Gilbert or Stephane Robidas would be viable options to come in and play top-four minutes. Returning Goaltender Player Rating GP W L OTL GAA SV% Cap Hit Ben Bishop 73.49 63 37 14 7 2.23 .924 $2.3M Free Agent Goaltender Player Rating GP W L OTL GAA SV% Class 13-14 Cap Hit Anders Lindback 60.81 28 9 12 2 2.96 .903 UFA $1.8M 27-year-old Ben Bishop had a phenomenal year in his first season as an NHL starting goaltender, his .934 even-strength save percentage ranking fourth in the league (his .924 overall save percentage also ranked fourth). The issue, of course, is that goaltender performance tends to be highly variable, and goaltenders that exceed previous norms one year are likely to experience regression the next year. If Bishop were to regress to league average, would the Lightning still be a playoff team? The wildcard when it comes to the Tampa Bay goaltending situation is top prospect Andrei Vasilevski, the 19-year-old who has thrived in international play and posted a .923 save percentage in 28 KHL games last season. If Vasilevski doesnt start in the NHL, then Latvian prospect Kristers Gudlevskis could get a crack at the job. Top Prospects Player Pos. Team/League Stats Jonathan Drouin LW Halifax (QMJHL) 29-79-108, +50, 46 GP Andrei Vasilevskiy G Ufa Salavat Yulayev (KHL) 2.21 GAA, .923 SV%, 28 GP Vladislav Namestnikov C Syracuse (AHL) 19-29-48, -1, 56 GP Slater Koekkoek D Windsor (OHL) 15-38-53, +44, 62 GP Brett Connolly RW Syracuse (AHL) 21-36-57, -6, 66 GP Adam Erne LW Syracuse (AHL) 21-41-62, -3, 48 GP Cedric Paquette C Syracuse (AHL) 20-24-44, even, 70 GP Kristers Gudlevskis G Syracuse (AHL) 2.68 GAA, .901 SV%, 34 GP Nikita Nesterov D Syracuse (AHL) 4-12-16, -2, 54 GP Dmitry Korobov C Syracuse (AHL) 3-23-26, -12, 71 GP Henri Ikonen LW Kingston (OHL) 25-45-70, +17, 54 GP Adam Wilcox G Minnesota (Big 10) 1.97 GAA, .932 SV%, 38 GP The third pick in last summers draft, Jonathan Drouin has been destroying the competition in the QMJHL over the past couple seasons. In 128 (regular season plus playoff games), hes scored 95 goals and 289 points (2.26 points per game). Hes surely going to be a part of the Lightning lineup next season and if he plays in a top line role, he should be the Calder Trophy favourite. Drafted 19th overall in 2012, Andrei Vasilevskiy is one of, if not the, premier goaltending prospects, having played well at every level and responding to every new challenge. The decision for the Lightning next season will be whether it makes more sense for Vasilevski to handle a starters workload in the AHL or start his North American career as a backup to Bishop. A skilled forward plucked with the 27th pick in 2011, Vladislav Namestnikov plays both ends of the rink and should be knocking on the door for an NHL job, though its not easy to make this club as a centre and there are already a lot of first and second-year forwards on the roster. Picked 10th in 2012, Slater Koekkoek was healthy and had a tremendous season in Windsor. As he refines his defensive game, he should be quick to challenge for a spot on a Tampa Bay blueline that doesnt have many difference-makers. Taken sixth overall in 2010, Brett Connolly has managed six goals and 17 points in 84 career NHL games, while struggling in puck possession. He has 120 points in 137 AHL games and is still only 22-years-old, so there is hope that he can be a productive NHL winger, though it isnt an easy lineup to crack in Tampa Bay. A second-round pick last summer, Adam Erne is a physical winger who can contribute offensively and he chipped in four points in eight AHL games at the end of the season. A gritty forward who played well in Tampa Bays brief playoff appearance last season, Cedric Paquette made a good impression in his first pro campaign and should have a legitimate chance to crack the lineup next year. Kristers Gudlevskis opened eyes with his performance for Latvia against Canada in the Olympics and got into three (regular season plus playoff) games for the Lightning, stopping 54 of 58 shots. the 21-year-old was a fifth-round pick last summer and could probably use more seasoning, but could find the crease crowded with Vasilevski joining the team. Picked in the fifth round in 2011, Nikita Nesterov made a smooth enough transition in his first North American pro season. Hes not big, but can move the puck and that should earn him a chance if he continues to make progress. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2012, Dmitry Korobov is a 25-year-old who plays a physical defensive game, but was woefully overmatched in three games with the Lightning last season. Some possible value as a sixth-round pick last summer, Henri Ikonen plays a reliable two-way game and had a nice year in Kingston before jumping to the AHL for six games late in the year. A sixth-round pick in 2011, Adam Wilcox has been stellar in two years with the University of Minnesota, posting a .927 save percentage in 77 games over two years. Lightning advanced stats and player usage chart from Extra Skater DRAFT19th - Josh Ho Sang, Ivan Barbashev, Roland McKeown. FREE AGENCYAccording to www.capgeek.com, the Lightning have approximately $50.6M committed to the 2014-2015 salary cap for 15 players. Check out my possible Lightning lineup for next season on Cap Geek here. Needs: One top six forward, one top pair defenceman, backup goaltender.What I said the Lightning needed last year: One top six forward, depth forwards, one top four defenceman.They added: Ondrej Palat, Valtteri Filppula, Tyler Johnson, Richard Panik, Andrej Sustr, Mark Barberio. TRADE MARKETRyan Malone, Richard Panik, Brett Connolly. Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. Nike Air Max Goedkoop China . Simon (10-3) allowed three runs on five hits and three walks in 6 1-3 innings to break a tie with the Dodgers Zack Greinke and Cardinals Adam Wainwright for the NL lead in victories. Simon went to spring training as a relief pitcher and moved into the starting rotation when Mat Latos was recovering from elbow and knee surgeries. Nike Air Max Belgie Kopen . This week they discuss Russias mens hockey team, the ineptitude of the IOC handling the Nicklas Backstrom situation, John Tortorellas many apologies, and Canadas strong showing in curling.Jon Jones saw all the zeros next to Floyd Mayweather Jr.s name. He knows how much money the worlds best boxer made while dominating his opponent last weekend. If Jones does something similar to Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 in Toronto this weekend, he realizes the reward for being arguably the worlds top mixed martial artist is only a fraction of Mayweathers $40 million-plus payday. And it doesnt bother the UFC light heavyweight champion at all. "Im grateful to make the money I make," Jones said. "As a 26-year-old, I never would have imagined being in this position. And Im also a person that doesnt believe money is the key to life or happiness." Jones (18-1) is the UFCs main attraction at Air Canada Centre on Saturday when he steps into the octagon with Swedens Gustafsson (15-1), the latest 205-pounder to take a shot at ending Jones 2 1/2-year championship reign. If Jones wins, hell break Tito Ortizs promotion record with his sixth successful title defence. But MMAs probable pound-for-pound champion wont get anything near the jaw-dropping reward given to Mayweather for schooling Saul Alvarez. The financial disparities for the stars of these related sports have been topics of contention for years. But dont look for any indignation from Jones, who also has endorsement deals with Nike and Gatorade. The MMA champion and his two NFL-star brothers grew up on discounted school lunches, and hes willing to be patient with a young sport he picked up just six years ago. "Just being comfortable makes me happy," he said. "I dont need those type of paydays. Would it be nice? It would be great to get paid the way other pro athletes get paid. I believe it will come. Im just going to keep doing my part. ... If somebody is going to pay me over a million dollars to fight, do you think Im going to talk trash about that? No way. Im so happy. I think $40 million, thats like ridiculous, in a good way." UFC 165 also features interim bantamweight titlist Renan Barao, unbeaten in 30 straight fights since his pro debut in 2005, defending his belt against former WEC champ Eddie Wineland. Heavyweights Brendan Schaub and Matt Mitrione also meet. Just like Canelo, Gustafsson is the most logical challenger to a dominant champion. He has won six straight fights since his only career loss in April 2010, and nobody doubts he deserves the title shot given to him by UFC President Dana White. Although Jones is a heavy favourite to defeat Gustafsson, the challenger is among the few 205-pound contenders who can match Jones impressive frame. At 6-foot-5, Gustafsson is slightly taller than Jones, although the champions 84 1/2-inch wingspan is a bit broader. "Its not always about reach," said Gustafsson, who trains in Stockholm and San Diego. "Its about footwork. Its being ffast, in and out. Air Max Goedkoop. Stuff like that. Im really making sure Ive really done my homework here, and Im super motivated." But Jones is confident he can overcome any size similarities with his combination of study and skill. "Im really excited to prove that my size is just a really small part of what makes me, me," Jones said. "If my height was the reason for my dominance, I think half the NBA would be top guys in the UFC. Gustafsson, hes really nothing like me. "What gets me motivated is he hasnt had the life," Jones added. "He wants to be the top dog. A lot of the guys Ive fought before, theyve been there and they didnt appreciate it, and they lost it. Alexander has never been there, so theres a fire that Im sure he has that gets me fired up." Jones, who combs through his opponents interviews for threads to unravel their psyche, also said he found motivation for the fight in a Swedish interview in which Gustafsson called him an immature bully. So dominant for so long, its not surprising Jones has to go looking for new motivations -- and the next one after Gustafsson might be the next weight class. Jones has spent much of this promotion entertaining questions about his eventual move to heavyweight, even as he claims he plans to chase Anderson Silvas all-division record of 10 consecutive title defences. While Jones wont set a date for a move, hes already scoping out UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, saying: "Theres some things I could do athletically that Cain has never seen before." "I want to do what makes the fans happy, and I know the fans want to see me take a heavyweight fight," Jones added. "My biggest goal was just to establish this record at light heavyweight, and once this record is established, the day after the fight, the 22nd, we can start thinking about whats going to be most interesting for the fans to see. "If Dana wants a certain fight that makes sense, after this fight would be the time to offer it to me." And while not even a pay-per-view meeting with Velasquez would be likely to match the Mayweather-Alvarez fights jaw-dropping $150 million in television sales, Jones abides. He thinks MMA is much like himself -- young, hungry and heading toward a lucrative future. "Right after the Mayweather fight, I got so many messages, and they were all the same: Now its time for a real fight," Jones said. "Its official, boxing is over, Mayweather is the only guy that matters left in the sport. After Mayweather, the sport is officially gone. It just seems like the fans are so ready for MMA to be bigger. It seems like in the fans eyes, this is the fight sport. I just think its going to take more time. What weve been able to do in our short history is remarkable." 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