Buying or Selling Tampa Bay Lightning Players' Hot Starts in 2013-14
The Lightning haven’t played any middle-of-the-pack teams in the league. With games against Pittsburgh, Chicago and Boston in the highest tier of the standings and games against Buffalo and Florida in the lowest, Tampa Bay is just trying to find consistency in the schedule and on the ice.
The usual suspects lead the pack for the Bolts this season. Secondary scoring hasn’t been an issue early, though, which has helped the Lightning stay above .500.
Five games in, find out whose hot starts to be buying or selling in 2013-14.
Steven Stamkos is doing what he does best—scoring goals. Against the Florida Panthers, Stamkos got on the board with his first goal (and hat trick) of the season. Adjust that outburst to the level of the competition and it was still an impressive performance.
He followed the three-goal game up with another tally against Pittsburgh to tie him with Valtteri Filppula for most goals on the team (four). Stamkos is shooting at an impressive 30.8 percent clip. While that pace won’t continue for long, his production should.
The alternate captain has notched 91 points or more in three of the past four seasons. He was on pace for a 97-point year during last season’s shortened schedule.
We’re buying Stamkos’ stock early on.
Martin St. Louis
Is anyone really surprised that Martin St. Louis is hovering around the top of the leaderboards again? The newly named captain just continues to solidify his Hall of Fame career.
St. Louis is tied with Stamkos for the team lead in points (seven). He has been using his typical razor-sharp passing to feed Stamkos and quarterback the power play. With five assists already, St. Louis has been a big factor in the early success on offense.
After being held off the board in the season opener, Marty has points in the past four games, including three multi-point efforts. Eventually this guy will slow down, but it doesn’t look like 2013-14 will be the year.
We’re buying St. Louis’ stock this season, too.
Alex Killorn is tied for third on the team in points with six. He has two goals and four assists already, including a game-winner. Killorn has adopted the shoot-early-and-often mentality.
The former third-round pick is second on the team in shots (12) behind only Stamkos. He is converting on just over 16 percent of those shots, but even that pace seems high.
Entering his second season, he is still on a record-breaking pace. The record would be his point total from his rookie year. The winger had 19 points in 38 games last year.
It’s early for Killorn, but we’re selling the hot start.
Valtteri Filppula got the season started off right, as his first Lightning goal was the team’s first of the year. Tied with Stamkos for the team lead in goals (four), Filppula has been a welcome addition so far.
He signed a nice contract in the offseason and has done a good job of earning praise in the early going. Filppula picked up two goals against Florida, but again, we need to adjust for opponent inflation.
The inconsistent center will inevitably slow, so we are selling this hot start as well. However, fans needs to look outside of the box score to find his impact on the game.
Filppula’s solid backchecking and winning 56 percent of his faceoffs will make the eventual cooldown acceptable.
Teddy Purcell has been waiting for his breakout season. This one just might be the year. He leads the team in power-play points (three) and plus/minus rating (plus-four) and is tied for second in points (six).
Converting on 33 percent of his shots, Purcell has started strong as a presence at the top of the crease. Also riding a four-game point streak, Purcell has scored three goals on his past four shots.
Hopefully this is the start he needs to gain some confidence in the offensive zone. Purcell has a nice release and needs to put the puck on net.
Purcell averages nearly 150 shots per season in each of his past three. If he continues that pace and takes advantage of the open space created by Filppula’s hands, this could be that breakout year for Teddy.
We’re buying Purcell’s hot start this season.