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Tampa Bay Lightning Goaltending and Acquisition Final Report Cards

Tampa Bay Lightning Report Cards

It is Tampa Bay Lightning report card time! The Tampa Bay Lightning have wrapped up the 2023-24 regular season. The Bolts completely turned their season around with stellar play throughout the 2024 months of the season. The team finished fourth in the Atlantic Division with the first Wild Card spot for the 2024 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Eastern Conference. The Lightning will face the Florida Panthers in the first round of the playoffs.

After a rough start to the season, Andrei Vasilevskiy returned to the net, and the supporting cast stepped up. The Lightning goaltending played below par this season relative to expectations. Jonas Johansson controlled the crease, while Vasilevskiy recovered in the Fall. Furthermore, the Lightning added two players at the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline. With that, we will grade goaltending and trade deadline acquisitions to wrap up our final report cards here at Last Word.

Tampa Bay Lightning Goaltending and Acquisition Report Card Grades

Andrei Vasilevskiy (52 Games, .900 SV%, 2.9o GA/G, -2.5 GSAx)

The Lightning starting goaltender missed two months due to back surgery. Andrei Vasilevskiy returned to the crease for Tampa Bay in December and performed below expectations this season. The Russian netminder is considered by some the best goaltender in the National Hockey League today. However, the statistics display otherwise.

Vasilevskiy did not give the Lightning much help in the net. While he played elite at times throughout the regular season, inconsistent play doesn’t grant best-in-the-world status. We understand coming off an injury is not easy, but we also expected Vasy to post at least above-average numbers following his return. Vasilevskiy will be the X Factor for the Lightning in a playoff series against the Panthers. If he is at the top of his game, Tampa Bay may run away with an upset series win.

Grade: C+

Jonas Johansson (26 Games, .890 SV%, 3.37 GA/G, -8.9 GSAx)

Signed to a league-minimum deal over the summer, Jonas Johansson filled big shoes to open the 2023-24 regular season. The career backup stepped into a starting role while Vasilevskiy recovered from surgery in October and November. Johansson did just enough to keep the Lightning in the playoff bubble, but his numbers were near rock bottom. 

However, the context around these numbers gives Johansson a “C” grade on the season. He was resilient in the net and did his best for the Bolts. We don’t expect him to see any action come playoff time, but his massive frame offers a potential backup for Tampa Bay in the coming years.

Grade: C

Anthony Duclair (16 Games, Seven Goals, Six Assists, and 13 Points)

Julien BriseBois looked for cost-efficient acquisitions at the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline. The Lightning gained cap space due to Mikhail Sergachev‘s injury, but they had minimal assets to work with. The price of a 2024 third-round pick and Jack Thompson landed them Anthony Duclair, who’s been an absolute bargain for the Lightning.

Duclair found his role on the first-line left wing alongside superstars Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point. The combination of skill and speed makes Duclair an effective first-line forward for Tampa Bay. The Canadian forward boasts elite possession numbers in his short sample size with the club, controlling 55.64% of the expected goal share at 5v5 (55.64 xGF%). Duclair will seek revenge against his former team in round one of the playoffs.

Grade: A-

Matt Dumba (17 Games, Zero Goals, One Assist, and One Point)

With Sergachev’s injury, BriseBois looked to add a stable defenceman to fill the vacant role on the back end. He ultimately settled on pending unrestricted free agent Matt Dumba. Despite the low cost of a 5th-round draft pick, Dumba continues to play poorly for Head Coach Jon Cooper. Dumba provides little to no offence, with only one point in his stint with Tampa Bay.

Furthermore, the physical defender is outscored and out-chanced heavily at 5v5. Dumba was outscored by a ratio of 7-15 at 5v5 while controlling just 41.39% of the expected goal share (41.39 xGF%). The Lightning did not need Dumba at the deadline, as Maxwell Crozier and Emil Martinsen Lilleberg provided similar impacts from the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League.

Grade: D

Raw stats via NaturalStatTrick & MoneyPuck

Main Photo Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

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