Projected Stats for Each Tampa Bay Lightning in Sochi
The Tampa Bay Lightning will have a solid representation of players in Sochi for the Olympics. The Bolts will send some of their oldest and youngest talent to Russia as they battle for a spot on the podium.
The men’s tournament starts on Feb. 12 with two games featuring European squads. Team USA and Canada start their quests for gold the following day against Slovakia and Norway, respectively.
Each team will have three games in pool play before heading into the qualification round on Feb. 18 or quarterfinals on Feb. 19. The medal games begin on Feb. 22 with the bronze-medal game, followed by the gold-medal game on the 23rd.
The Bolts have a widespread group of players representing their countries. Here are the projected stats for each Lightning player headed to Sochi.
The Bolts will have two players on the Czech Republic team—Radko Gudas and Ondrej Palat. It isn’t the strongest roster in the field, but there are a number of NHL players on the roster to get this team out of group play.
Rounding out the group is Sweden, Switzerland and Latvia.
As a stay-at-home defenseman, Gudas won’t have eye-popping stats. He will get some solid minutes for the Czechs as a second- or third-pair defenseman.
Games Played: 4
Time On Ice: 18:30 minutes per game
Palat has some nice offensive weapons on his team. Patrik Elias, Jaromir Jagr, David Krejci and Milan Michalek will make this a solid offense. Palat could be a second- or third-line player that may see additional special teams time.
Games Played: 4
Time on Ice: 17:00 minutes per game
The Latvian squad has just one NHL player—Zemgus Girgensons of the Buffalo Sabres—and shouldn’t be expected to make much noise in the tournament. The group will be Sweden’s to lose with the other three teams fighting for a spot in the quarterfinals.
Lightning prospect Kristers Gudlevskis should see a few starts for Latvia in goal.
Latvia is in the same group as the Czechs with Sweden and Switzerland.
A fifth-round selection by the Lightning in the 2013 draft, Gudlevskis shouldn’t have an issue playing in Russia. He played in Russian Juniors and in the KHL before joining the Bolts. Gudlevskis will need to bring his best game if Latvia wants a chance at finishing second in the group.
Games Played: 3
Goals Against: 8
Save Percentage: .915
The Lightning had two selections for the Finnish team, but only one will head to Sochi. Valtteri Filppula’s ankle injury will hold him out of the Games, but Sami Salo will still be representing the Bolts.
This team is anchored by its goaltending, and defense is a big part of that success. Salo’s veteran experience will be a good help to the Finns.
Finland’s group includes Canada, Norway and Austria.
Salo is one of the more experienced defensemen on the Finland roster. Fellow veteran Kimmo Timonen will also shoulder a large load on the blue line. Salo could be paired with someone like Olli Maatta of the Pittsburgh Penguins, which would make for some solid complementary play.
Games Played: 5
Time on Ice: 18:30 minutes per game
Team Slovakia is another interesting team in the field. Young Lightning forward Richard Panik will join Marian Hossa, Tomas Kopecky and Michal Handzus as part of a dynamic offensive set. NHL defensemen Zdeno Chara and Andrej Sekera will make this team a tough out.
Their group includes the United States, Russia and Slovenia.
Panik could very well see top-six forward minutes. He has been solid for the Lightning this season and with the loss of Marian Gaborik, Slovakia may look to Panik to shoulder a larger load. Lightning fans have seen his skill and hockey sense. He should be a fun watch in Sochi.
Games Played: 5
Time on Ice: 16:45 minutes per game
Every single member of the Canadian team plays in the NHL. This is probably the toughest team to select and Lightning fans saw that play out over the last few weeks. Steven Stamkos was initially selected but won’t be able to go. He is replaced by Lightning captain Martin St. Louis.
Team Canada will look to repeat the 2010 performance. They have Norway, Finland and Austria in the group.
Martin St. Louis
Martin St. Louis is one of the more consistent players in the NHL. St. Louis was a part of the 2006 Olympic squad that went 3-2 and missed out on a medal. Team Canada looks to repeat, and St. Louis looks to go out on a high note on the world’s biggest stage.
Games Played: 6
Time on Ice: 16:00 minutes per game