Projecting Tampa Bay Lightning's Defensive Pairings in 2014-15 NHL Season

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Projecting Tampa Bay Lightning's Defensive Pairings in 2014-15 NHL Season
STEVE NESIUS/Associated Press
Anchored by top-tier defenseman Victor Hedman, the Lightning blue line should continue to improve.

The Tampa Bay Lightning's defensive group has a very high ceiling led by defensemen Matt Carle, Victor Hedman and Radko Gudas. The talented young Bolts with have some decisions to make this offseason as they solidify the defensive pairings for the 2014-15 season.

Tampa Bay has five defensemen under contract for 2014-15, but that includes the practically retired Mattias Ohlund. Andrej Sustr, Keith Aulie and Mark Barberio are restricted free agents and deserve some attention from the front office.

Prospects like Slater Koekkoek and Nikita Nesterov will be anxious to earn a spot come training camp. They will put additional pressure on the coaching staff for the final few defensive spots.

With nearly three months until the preseason begins, the Lightning will have some fierce battles on the blue line. Here is how the defense could stack up in 2014-15.

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