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Tampa Bay Lightning Secondary Goal Scoring Remains a Concern

As the NHL trade deadline approaches, the Tampa Bay Lightning have a few different avenues they can take. At the start of the season, many expected the team to sell assets based on the rocky start. However, the Lightning improved their play as the regular season unfolded. While some fans believe staying the course is the best option, a recent injury may have changed everything. Mikhail Sergachev went down with season-ending leg surgery, and now the Lightning have $8.5 million in cap space to utilize. Filling the vacant hole with a defenceman seems like the most optimal decision. Yet, the roster’s hole is never touched on, the secondary scoring. Here’s a look at the Tampa Bay Lightning goal-scoring from their depth forwards. 

Tampa Bay Lightning Goal-Scoring Depth Must Improve

Statistics Back Up Secondary Scoring Issues

Balanced goal-scoring is vital to winning a Stanley Cup Championship. Last season, we witnessed the Vegas Golden Knights roll four solid forward lines in their championship run. Furthermore, the Lightning teams that captured Lord Stanley had exceptional depth at forward. However, the team has a top-heavy goal-scoring distribution this season. Numbers crunched by DataDrivenHockey on Instagram provide further context.

The Lightning have received 299 points from their top-six forwards this season, the most out of all teams in the league. Moreover, the top-six has accumulated 60.2% of the team’s total points, the second-best percentage in the NHL. The Lightning’s top-six offensive production has been fabulous. Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, and Brandon Hagel have led the charge all season long. On the other hand, the bottom six goal-scoring has been brutal.

The Tampa Bay bottom-six has contributed 68 points, which ranks tied for last with the San Jose Sharks. In addition, the depth forwards have contributed to 13.7% of the team’s total points, the second-worst percentage league-wide. The unbalanced goal-scoring remains a concern for the Lightning that nobody on social media discusses. Ultimately, based on the numbers, the Lightning might be better off adding depth scoring instead of a defenceman at the trade deadline.

Who Is Responsible for the Lack of Secondary Scoring?

While the bottom-six scoring has been brutal all season long, a few players are not responsible for this issue. Specficially, Michael Eyssimont, who is the team’s best depth forward. Eyssimont is a high-volume shooter who must work on his passing skills, but his motor and energy make him a favorite. In 54 games, he has contributed eight goals and 16 points. Considering Eyssimont was a bargain bin acquisition from the trade deadline, could we see Tampa Bay try this strategy again at this trade deadline?

The other forward is Tanner Jeannot, who receives too much criticism for his play. The Lightning overpaid to acquire his services, but Jeannot has been solid in the games he has played this year. Unfortunately, injuries have limited his games played. However, in 42 games, Jeannot has six goals and 12 points. His defensive play and ability to pass on the breakout provide a solid base for the gritty forward in the future.

Outside of Eyssimont and Jeannot, no forward in the bottom six has eclipsed double-digit points this season. Luke Glendening has recorded eight goals and an assist for nine points in 55 games. In addition, Tyler Motte has posted four goals and two assists for six points in 45 games. Unfortunately, free agent signing Conor Sheary has one goal and eight assists for nine points in 37 games. Finally, in 35 games, Alex Barré-Boulet has six goals and three assists for nine points. The current depth scoring is not good enough for the Lightning to last in the playoffs. The team must bolster the offence via the trade deadline. Who can they target to resolve this issue?

Potential Trade Targets to Bolster the Scoring

Here at Last Word, Kyle Pereria and Jack Pallotta looked at potential trade deadline targets for the Lightning. A few names that can boost the secondary scoring include Thomas Novak, Anthony Duclair, and Reilly Smith. Novak plays a fast game in transition, something the Lightning need to improve heading into the playoffs. Duclair adds an element of speed to the Lightning they currently do not have. Lastly, Smith provides a skilled, two-way presence and can play up and down the lineup. Overall, the Lightning must do something with their forward core if they expect to contend for the Stanley Cup this season. Adding defencemen or not touching the roster will not maximize the potential of this roster.

Scoring Statistics via DataDrivenHockey

Main Photo: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports


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