Just over a week into NHL free agency, the Tampa Bay Lightning have made a significant impact in an attempt to return to the playoffs. General manager Steve Yzerman signed five players outside the Tampa Bay organization as well as re-signed seven restricted free agents and two unrestricted free agents to bolster excitement around the franchise.
After finishing second in the Atlantic Division and with the slew of players set to improve the Lightning this season, this team won't be flying under the radar in 2014-15. Even with the excitement, coach Jon Cooper is trying to keep things calm, according to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times.
"Every single year things change," Cooper said. "We were the 28th team picked to be a bottom feeder and we came out to be third in the East. Well you've got to be leery because there's teams that are picked at the top that don’t live up to expectations."
After exceeding expectations last year, this (still) young group will face a new challenge in 2014-15. It will need to meet the lofty goals set by the team's big offseason.
With the free-agent frenzy winding down, here are the biggest things to take away from the Lightning's start to the 2014 offseason.