As the off-season comes to a closer and we prepare for the 2016-17 season, let’s take a final look back at the 2015-16 season of Tampa Bay Lightning forward Joel Vermin.
Much to the joy of Tampa Bay Lightning fans everywhere, the off-season is nearing its close. It won’t be long now until the players make their way back to the Sunshine State in order to prepare themselves for the upcoming 2016-17 season.
The off-season has been pretty eventful for the Tampa Bay Lightning. There were some players who found themselves in need of a new home for the 2016-17 season. At the same time, there were some new faces making their way to the Bolts Nation.
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Of course, let’s not forget those like Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, defenseman Victor Hedman, and center Alex Killorn who re-upped their contracts in order to remain right here in Tampa Bay in the long-term.
Unfortunately, there are still a few missing pieces to the overall puzzle that is the Tampa Bay Lightning, namely a new contract for the Lightning’s 2015-16 leading point scorer, Nikita Kucherov. There are those in the Bolts Nation that fear he may not return for another season.
Just keep in mind, before you panic, the Tampa Bay Lightning have one of the best General Managers in the National Hockey League. If there is anyone who has mastered the art of the deal, it’s Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman. In other words, things will work out in time. Let Yzerman do his thing.
Now, before Lightning fans turn their attentions to the 2016-17 for good, let’s take a small step back and take a closer look at the 2015-16 season had by Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Joel Vermin.
The 2015-16 season was an exceptional year for Lightning right wing Joel Vermin. As the Tampa Bay Lightning dealt with a plethora of injury issues over the course of the season, the door was finally opened for Vermin to make his National Hockey League debut.
After being drafted in the 7th Round (186th Overall), the 24-year-old forward made his Lightning debut on November 9, 2015, as the Bolts took on the New York Rangers at the Amalie Arena in Tampa. While Vermin was not able to make his way to the scoresheet in his debut, he certainly sparked the attention of many here in the Bolts Nation.
In the highlight video from that particular encounter, the first thing you hear is the announcers recognizing the skill of Vermin and how he earned his way to his opportunity to shine.
Before being re-assigned to the Lightning’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, Vermin was able to play in six games with the Tampa Bay Lightning. In that amount of time, the Bern native was able to score a single assist. This assist came early in the second period, on a goal by Nikita Kucherov, in the Lightning’s 5-0 rout of the Anaheim Ducks.
Once Vermin made his way back to Syracuse, he would suit up for a total of 37 games with the Syracuse Crunch. In that amount of time, he was able to bring home nine goals and 12 assists for a total of 21 points.
While we will concede that Joel Vermin is not the most prolific goal-scorer in the Tampa Bay Lightning, Vermin has a certain speed about him that has the potential to make him a dangerous asset on the roster. If Vermin can find a way to capitalize on his speed and find new ways to put the puck in the back of the net, Lightning fans may have the opportunity to see him on a more permanent basis.
It may be a few more seasons before we see Joel Vermin on the Tampa Bay Lightning’s main roster, but in the meantime, his speed and puck-handling skills have been quite the asset to the Syracuse Crunch. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see what he has to offer in the 2016-17 season and whether or not he gets the call to return to the main roster.