Tampa Bay Lightning Players Who Need To Step Up In Absence Of Leadership

BY Fansided and Tasha St. Pierre/FanSided via Bolts by the Bay • December 17, 2016

The staff here at Bolts By The Bay discusses which Tampa Bay Lightning players need to step up and take charge in light of the Lightning’s lack of leadership at the moment.

The Tampa Bay Lightning has sustained so many injuries this season it’s almost difficult not to laugh. While there is nothing funny about the situation at all, sometimes, you have to do what you have to do in order not to break down into an emotional mess.

The Lightning has lost many players to a variety of injuries of the first quarter of the season. It’s plain to see the plethora of injuries have turned what used to be carefully crafted chemistry into a chaotic mess and left the Bolts and many of their fans searching for answers.

As far as many Lightning fans can see, one of the biggest things the Lightning is missing right now is leadership. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos has been relegated to the sidelines until at least mid-March after having undergone successful surgery to repair a lateral tear in his right meniscus.

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At the same time, Lightning alternate captain Ryan Callahan has been sidelined since November 29th after his surgically repaired hip started to cause trouble for him once again. Two more of the Lightning’s leaders have been sidelined as of late with forwards Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat being listed as day-to-day.

This begs the question, which Tampa Bay Lightning player(s) need to step up and take control of the team before the Lightning misses their opportunity to return to the postseason and crushes the dreams of Lightning fans all around the Bolts Nation.

There are a number of names who could be thrown into the mix when it comes to players taking on leadership roles. Among the names brought to light by the Bolts By The Bay staff, there are some rather familiar names and others who may not have been a first choice but could certainly surprise if given the opportunity.

Did your top choice make our staff’s list? Is there someone you think should’ve been included in this discussion? Feel free to sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tasha St. Pierre, Bolts By The Bay Site Expert

The Tampa Bay Lightning have been absolutely ravaged by injuries this season. As sad as it is to say, almost every time the team has finally got one of their integral players back in the lineup, another player makes their way to the sidelines with any number of maladies.

It has almost gotten to the point where Lightning fans cringe every time one of the Lightning players gets slammed into the boards or blocks an awkward shot with their body or just happens to take an unusually hard hit. The first thought to cross fans’ minds is “Oh my goodness, are we about to lose another player.”

Despite the adversity the Lightning has been forced to deal with so far this season, something simply has to change. Unfortunately, change becomes increasingly difficult when you have a lack of leadership on the team.

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Bolts by the Bay 23hTampa Bay Lightning Fall In Season Finale Against Vancouver Canucks

More headlines around FanSided:

1 d - Tampa Bay Lightning Vs. Vancouver Canucks: Live Thread For Game No. 311 d - Tampa Bay Lightning F Ondrej Palat Out Against Vancouver Canucks2d - Calgary Flames Winning Streak Comes To An End3d - Tampa Bay Lightning F Nikita Kucherov Day-To-Day With Lower-Body Injury3d - Tampa Bay Lightning Vs. Calgary Flames: Live Thread For Game No. 30More News at Bolts by the Bay

As was mentioned previously, Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos will be sidelined until at least mid-March after undergoing successful surgery to repair a lateral tear in his right meniscus. Right behind Stamkos is Lightning alternate captain Ryan Callahan. Cally has been on the sidelines since November 29th when his surgically repaired hip began to nag him once again.

In other words, the two players on the team with dedicated leadership roles are both sitting the sidelines right now. While Callahan will obviously be returning to the lineup sooner than Stamkos, the team can’t simply wait around for one of their leaders to be able to suit up once again. The team needs change right now.

As you can imagine, this begs the question, which players need to step up in the absence of the Lightning’s leadership core. There are two simple answers to this question, and either one of them (or both of them) would be excellent leaders to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s ailing lineup.

The first player that comes to mind is Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman. Hedman was much like some of the younger players on the team when he first joined the Lightning lineup. While he was a talented player, there was still something missing from his game that needed to be realized.

After the last NHL lockout, Hedman went overseas and played for Barys Astana while the NHL and the NHLPA hashed out their differences. We’re not sure what happened to Hedman during his time with Barys Astana, but Hedman came back to the Lightning a whole new player.

Victor Hedman’s veteran experience on the blueline coupled with his natural talent and ability to relate with some of the young players makes him an obvious choice to step into one of the Lightning’s many leadership roles. Honestly, we could see him wearing the ‘A’ on a more permanent basis.

Another player who could easily step into more of a leadership role is Lightning forward Brian Boyle. Boyle is, by far, one of the most versatile players on the entire team. Boyle can play both offense and defense and from just about any side of the play. This makes Boyle an asset in multiple areas of the game.

In addition to this, Brian Boyle’s line has been on absolute fire as of late. In the last five games, Boyle’s linemate Valtteri Filppula has brought home a goal and five assists for a total of six points. Three of those assists came in Wednesday night’s 6-3 victory over the Calgary Flames.

Boyle’s other linemate, Jonathan Drouin, has been lighting up the scoresheet as well. In the last five games, Drouin has brought home three goals and two assists for a total of five points. Two of Drouin’s goals came in last Saturday’s 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

As for Boyle himself, he has brought home two goals and an assist for a total of three points. Boyle had a multi-goal night against the same Calgary Flames team Filppula had his multi-point night against just a short while ago.

Brian Boyle has been in the National Hockey League for 10 seasons now and has played for some of the best teams in the league like the Los Angeles Kings and more recently, the New York Rangers.  If there is anyone who has the collective knowledge and skating ability to take one of the team’s many leadership roles, it’s Brian Boyle.

Tampa Bay Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper has a lot of tough decisions to make as the season forges on. If the Lightning have any hopes of making it to the postseason, they are going to have to turn things around rather quickly. Sometimes, a good leader is all a team needs to turn things around. It’ll be interesting to see who steps up and takes the reins.

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Lauren Burg, Bolts By The Bay Contributor

With the Tampa Bay Lightning’s two leaders currently sidelined with injuries, I feel that three players have the experience and respect of their teammates enough to step up and demand better play and accountability for the recent losing skid.

Those players are Brian Boyle, Victor Hedman, and Ben Bishop.

All three have spent a good chunk of the past few seasons playing for the Lightning and have been known to step up when the team needed it most. They also hold themselves accountable for any shortcomings the team suffers.

tampa bay lightning

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It should come as no surprise then that these were the three who sparked the Lightning’s first regulation win in three weeks. Boyle notched the first two goals of the night for the boys in blue, Bishop was aggressive from the opening puck drop and Hedman contributed a couple of assists, along with playing a solid game defensively.

All three have a natural ability to lead, as evidenced by the past few seasons. This year, however, has been tough because their leadership is needed more than ever before. Never before has this team been down Steven Stamkos and Ryan Callahan at the same time.

Even as it looks like Callahan might (finally) be nearing a return to the lineup, these three must continue leading by example both on and off the ice. 

If they do, the Lightning have enough talent and time to catapult themselves right back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

Believe me, making the playoffs would be the best Christmas gift Tampa Bay Lightning fans could receive after the horror of the past month!

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Will Clewis, Bolts By The Bay Contributor

Since Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos will be out for another few months, certain players need to step up and fill that void while he’s out of the lineup. If I remember correctly, in the past, the Lightning have rolled with multiple alternate captains at once (when the captain is sidelined), and that is how I think the team should handle it now.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be just one player, but sometimes it’s easier to have that one voice and one figure to look up to.

One player that would clearly be a great fit to step in and take on a major role is Lightning winger Ryan Callahan. The former captain of the New York Rangers has already established that he can be a guiding figure in the locker room and on the ice, and Callahan’s personality exudes “leadership,” if you know what I mean. He already wears an “A” on his jersey and is a veteran leader on this team.

tampa bay lightning

Bolts by the Bay 23hTampa Bay Lightning Fall In Season Finale Against Vancouver Canucks

More headlines around FanSided:

1 d - Tampa Bay Lightning Vs. Vancouver Canucks: Live Thread For Game No. 311 d - Tampa Bay Lightning F Ondrej Palat Out Against Vancouver Canucks2d - Calgary Flames Winning Streak Comes To An End3d - Tampa Bay Lightning F Nikita Kucherov Day-To-Day With Lower-Body Injury3d - Tampa Bay Lightning Vs. Calgary Flames: Live Thread For Game No. 30More News at Bolts by the Bay

Now, Callahan is still out with an injury, but once he returns from injured reserve (IR), it might be a good time to give him the unofficial (and temporary) captaincy. Hopefully, he can stay healthy for the rest of the season and help guide the team back into the playoffs.

Another player that I’d like to see step up and fill the void is defenseman Victor Hedman. Before this season, Hedman didn’t wear a letter on his jersey but was still considered a leader, of course.

This season, one of the faces of the Tampa Bay Lightning franchise earned a letter on his jersey, and fittingly so because Hedman has been with the team for a while, and this is a great time for him to elevate his leadership role for the Lightning.

Finally, a few other players that I could see step up while Stamkos is out are forwards Brian Boyle and Tyler Johnson, and defenseman Braydon Coburn. I would like to see Johnson step up even more than the other two, though, because there’s something about his personality and the qualities he expresses that convince me that he needs more of a leadership role with the Lightning.

There’s a chance he could be with the team long-term after this upcoming summer’s free agency period, and this is an excellent time to form that role while Stamkos is recovering.

Though there are multiple players I could see step up and fill the leadership void left by Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman is someone who I could really see be the “light,” the voice, and the guiding figure for the Lightning.

I could also see forward Ryan Callahan take on the same role, or the two players could split the workload and lead together. With that said, Tampa Bay has plenty to choose from when looking for additional leadership.

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