Chris O'Meara/Associated Press
The Lightning entered this season as a potential Stanley Cup contender. After 38 games, the Bolts have a record of 19 wins, 15 losses and four overtime losses. With 42 points, they're fourth in the Atlantic Division and sit outside the playoff picture.
Injuries have sidelined such notables as forwards Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Drouin, Ondrej Palat and Ryan Callahan, defenseman Anton Stralman and goaltender Ben Bishop.
A Vezina Trophy finalist last season, Bishop is struggling in 2016-17. Prior to suffering a lower-body injury, the 30-year-old goalie posted only nine wins in 22 games played with a 2.79 goals-against average and .907 save percentage.
With a penalty-kill percentage of 79.8, the Lightning are among the league's worst in that category.
The Lightning rely heavily on Stralman and Victor Hedman. They could use another top-four defenseman.
Why they'll improve
Most of their injured stars have returned to action. Stamkos (knee injury) could return in March. With a healthier lineup, they should rise in the standings.
Promising Andrei Vasilevskiy is expected to take over the role of full-time starting goalie once Bishop departs via free agency in July. Bishop's injury opens the door for the 22-year-old to fully establish himself in that role.
Management could pursue a top-four rental defenseman by the March 1 trade deadline. That move could provide a boost to their penalty kill.
The Lightning have considerable depth in talent and experience in staging second-half rallies. At this point a year ago, the Bolts sat sixth in the Atlantic Division. They went on to clinch a playoff spot and march to within a game of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.
Player and teams stats (as of Jan. 1, 2017) via NHL.com. Additional info via Hockey-Reference.com.