Regarding team building, constructing the bottom defence pair can make all the difference in winning the Stanley Cup. A roster with strength throughout their entire lineup will find more success. The Tampa Bay Lightning have a few candidates to fill out the bottom pair on defence heading into the 2024 season. Let’s analyze each option on a deeper level.
Tampa Bay Lightning Bottom Defence Pair Options
The first option is Lightning fan-favorite Zach Bogosian. He appeared in 46 games during the 2023 season, recording one goal and five points. Moreover, he added an assist in five playoff games. Corey Sjanzder’s micro stats tracking project (All Three Zones) offers another layer of statistics to understand the play style of Bogosian.
Bogosian is best at contributing shots for the Lightning. He ranked in the 78th percentile of shots per hour amongst defencemen in 2023. Bogosian also assists his teammates shot attempts. Bogosian placed in the 77th percentile of shot assists per hour. In addition, Bogosian can jump in on the rush and lead the attack. He placed in the 83rd percentile of zone entries per hour last season.
Bogosian provides veteran leadership in the locker room, appearing in 783 career games. Despite his experience, Bogosian is injury prone. He suffered a shoulder injury and underwent surgery during the summer of 2022. Additionally, this caused him to miss 17 games last season. Bogosian has not played more than 48 games in four years. His health and consistency are red flags.
Calvin de Haan
The only new defenceman signed by the Lightning is Calvin de Haan. de Haan signed a one-year, $775,000 contract with the Lightning in free agency. His new contract is a no-risk, high-reward deal. de Haan possesses the highest ceiling for the bottom pair, especially in the offensive department.
de Haan can take on the most workload out of all the options. He played 717 minutes last season, averaging 14 minutes a night. In 53 games with the Carolina Hurricanes last season, de Haan recorded ten assists and 12 points. de Haan is responsible in his own zone and can move the puck up the ice efficiently.
According to All Three Zones, de Haan ranked in the 73rd percentile of zone entry denials per hour. In addition, he placed in the 87th percentile of high-danger assists amongst defencemen. Andy and Rono at ARHockeyStats promote de Haan as a true third-pairing defenceman for the Lightning next season.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed Calvin De Haan to a one-year, $775K deal. In fact, this is an incredible value for Tampa Bay. De Haan has a potential to be very, very good 3rd pairing defenseman there. pic.twitter.com/n3xb3SwXPo
— Andy & Rono (@ARHockeyStats) July 2, 2023
The final option of the three is a player who worked extremely hard. Darren Raddysh finally cracked the league at 27 years old. Moreover, Raddysh dominated the AHL with 51 points in 50 games for the Syracuse Crunch. Then, he finished the 2023 season as a full-time member of the Lightning. Raddysh scored three points in 17 games. Additionally, he added two points in six playoff games.
Raddysh is a fantastic skater with the puck, possessing speed and acceleration. Moreover, Raddysh is very comfortable with the puck on his stick. He made the most of his brief opportunity with the Lightning to close out last season. He’s another example of the Lightning developing hidden gems from the AHL. Similarly, Nicklaus Perbix capitalized on his call-up opportunity.
Check out this goal Raddysh scored during the 2023 playoffs. He accelerates to the middle of the ice and picks the top corner.
Darren Raddysh gets the go-ahead goal pic.twitter.com/wgXRNQhSAR
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 23, 2023
The Lightning have three solid options for the bottom pair heading into next season. The defence core experienced a ton of change due to the salary cap. Yet, the front office maximized the depth of their organization from top to bottom. A third pairing of de Haan and Raddysh is the best option to start the season, but Bogosian offers a steady seventh option.
Photo: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports