Tampa Bay Lightning: Teddy Purcell and 5 Players With Something to Prove
After a run to the Eastern Conference finals last year, the Tampa Bay Lightning just fell short of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals, being edged out by the Boston Bruins in seven games by a single goal.
With most of the cast returning again this season, Tampa Bay is looking to match their success from last season and take it that extra step.
Whether it be a next step in a career, having a bounce-back season or simply making adjustments to improve, here are five Bolts that are out to show that they have more to offer.
Just last season, Ryan Shannon ended the year a plus-player for the first time in his career. He also set career highs in both goals and points, with 11 and 27 respectively.
Now, after signing with the Lightning this offseason, the small and shifty Shannon is hoping to take the next step in his game, contributing more offensively for the Bolts in a more important role.
There's no doubt about it; Marc-Andre Bergeron is quietly one of the game's top offensive defensemen.
This season, Bergeron is off to a scorching-hot start, with eight points through the first six games.
The only downside to that is that he's not the most reliable in his own zone. In order to stay with the Lightning all season, he's going to have pick up the defensive slack and not just rely on his offense alone to keep him there.
In his first full NHL season last year, Teddy Purcell tallied 17 goals and 51 points in 81 games, following that up with a solid playoff campaign, too.
This season, Purcell is looking to prove he can do it again, and on a consistent basis for the Bolts.
Playing top-six minutes, the 26-year-old Newfoundland native currently has four points in five games, a trend he will undoubtedly be determined to continue.
At age 42, Dwayne Roloson is the league's oldest starting goaltender. Don't tell that to him, though.
The Lightning netminder played out of his mind en route to a deep playoff run. Roloson posted an 18-12 record, with four shutouts and a .912 save percentage. In the postseason, he did even better, going 10-6 with one shutout and a .924 save percentage.
This season Roloson is off to a rocky start, but when the Lightning signed him again for one more year, they knew he has what it takes to still be their No. 1 guy.
Now, he just has to continue to prove it to the world.
For rookies entering their first NHL season, it's not fair to put loads of pressure on them, which is why the Lightning management is sure to be patient with Brett Connolly—the team's sixth-overall pick in the 2010 Entry Draft.
The 19-year-old British Columbia native is out to show the league that the Bolts made the right decision to keep him on the roster this season.
Connolly, who has an assist through six games this season, is set to establish himself this season with a solid rookie campaign. One that will see him tally around 40 points.