Lightning Player Ratings After 4 Weeks

We’re four weeks into the season already, and the Tampa Bay Lightning have been playing very well even during this tough start to the season. We’ve seen a mix of play by different players on the Lightning so far, some surprisingly hot starts, and some struggles to start the season.

With Nikita Kucherov injured until December/January, the Lightning coaching staff and players have had to do a lot of adjusting, as there are no longer backups in Yanni Gourde, Blake Coleman, and Barclay Goodrow, and the Lightning need to pick up players from Syracuse temporarily. We’ve seen a large influx of prospects playing in the NHL, including Alex Barre-Boulet, Taylor Raddysh, and Boris Katchouk.

As we near the end of the first full month of NHL play, it’s good to look at how different players are performing, starting from the start of the season to now. The ratings are based on individual performance, their stat lines, and performance with their teammates.

Forwards:

Ondrej Palat (4-4-8)

Ondrej Palat has had a great start to the season, playing very well on the top line with Brayden Point and Corey Perry. He has great team play and amazing individual effort, and he continues to be an underrated forward in the league. Not ‘A’ rating worthy, but getting close.

Rating: B+

Brayden Point (4-5-9)

Brayden Point has had a lackluster start to the season but is starting to play a lot better. When Kucherov got injured, it took a hit on Point’s performance, but he’s been playing better with Corey Perry as the replacement for Kucherov on the first line.

Rating: B

Brayden Point Tampa Bay Lightning
Brayden Point, Tampa Bay Lightning (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Corey Perry (0-1-1)

Corey Perry has had a tremendous last few games on the Lightning’s first line and top power-play unit. Before that, however, he struggled a lot and even has on the top line a bit. While he has a low point total, he’s played great with the team, and his improvement is showing.

Rating: D+

Alex Killorn (7-5-11)

Alex Killorn has played amazing, to say the least. He’s second on the team in points and first in goals. Not only has he played great offensively, but he’s also had a respectable defensive game. If he keeps this up, he could have a career year.

Rating: A+

Steven Stamkos (7-8-14)

Steven Stamkos has played outstanding to start the season, and if healthy, he could easily be a Hart Trophy finalist. The loss of Kucherov hasn’t hurt Stamkos’ performance, and it looks like he won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

Rating: A+

Alex Barre-Boulet (1-2-3)

Alex Barre-Boulet has had a weird season. He was put on waivers with the intent of sending him to the AHL, but the Seattle Kraken picked him up. Just 11 days later, the Seattle Kraken placed Barre-Boulet on waivers, and the Lightning picked him right back up. He’s had a respectable start to the season so far and looks to be getting better every game.

Rating: C

Mathieu Joseph (1-4-4)

While not having the best look on paper, Mathieu Joseph has been one of, if not the best, depth player on the Lightning to start the season. Great two-way play and amazing offensive plays that have not been seen by him for a while. He’s proving himself to be a top depth player in the league.

Rating: B

Ross Colton (1-0-1)

A bit of a rough start for Ross Colton, the play we saw last season by the forward that surprised the league last season just isn’t there right now. It’s expected that he’ll be better soon, but for the moment, he hasn’t been playing to the expectations that fans have put on him.

Rating: F

Boris Katchouk (0-0-0)

Boris Katchouk has only played four games this season, so there isn’t much to say about him at the moment. What can be said, however, is that he isn’t playing as well as expected. He’s played good offense but has been unable to finish many chances created.

Rating: D

Pat Maroon (1-0-1)

Pat Maroon has also had a lackluster start to the season, but he is slowly starting to show more progress. If Bellemare and Raddysh can create more chances, we could see Maroon scoring a lot more goals.

Rating: D

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (0-2-2)

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare has not only played well offensively, but he’s also been a great leader on the ice. A respected player and one that everyone loves to have in the locker room. He’s played pretty well for his age, and it looks like he’ll be better in the next month if he keeps up this improvement.

Rating: C

Taylor Raddysh (0-1-1)

Taylor Raddysh been disappointing, to say the least. A once highly touted prospect for the Lightning, he’s been unable to produce in the NHL. There’s still hope for him, but it doesn’t look like it’s the right time for him to play in the NHL. One more season of development should help a lot.

Rating: F

Defenseman:

Victor Hedman (1-9-10)

Not only has Victor Hedman been strong defensively, already putting himself into Norris Trophy talks, but he has been one of the best playmakers on the Lightning. His nine assists help prove that point, and just watching him for one game helps prove that point.

Rating: A

Mikhail Sergachev (2-4-6)

Mikhail Sergachev has had his good games and his bad. While he struggled through the first few games of the season, he has slowly been improving, up until his suspension after the Lightning faced off against the Toronto Maple Leafs, where Sergachev hit Mitch Marner in the head on a check. He’s played well offensively and defensively, and his numbers prove that, but he’s slowly been developing into a dirty player over the last two seasons.

Rating: B-

Ryan McDonagh (1-4-5)

During the 2021 playoffs, Ryan McDonagh proved that he is still a great defenseman, playing a critical role in the Lightning’s 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cup wins. So far this season, he’s played a more defensive role, and it’s worked, as he’s had many great defensive plays that have saved the Lightning from being scored on multiple times.

Rating: A-

Ryan McDonagh, Tampa Bay Lightning
Ryan McDonagh, Tampa Bay Lightning (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Erik Cernak (0-3-3)

Erik Cernak has spent a lot of time on the ice with Ryan McDonagh, and they play very well together. He had a bit of a slow start, but it’s hardly noticeable. He’s played well and will most likely get noticed more as the season goes by.

Rating: C

Jan Rutta (1-2-3)

While Jan Rutta has respectable numbers, he has had a slow start defensively. While it’s better than most fans anticipated, it’s still been slow for him so far. He’s a player that could get moved down to the minors when Zach Bogosian comes off of IR.

Rating: D+

Andrej Sustr (1-0-1)

Andrej Sustr has been a bit of a shock. He hasn’t played too bad, and he is getting a lot done even with little time on the ice. While he hasn’t played nearly as well as most players, he’s doing better than anyone thought he would for someone who hasn’t seen the league for some time. That being said, he’s still someone who could easily be seen going down when Zach Bogosian comes off of IR.

Rating: D

Goalies:

Andrei Vasilevskiy (5-2-2, 2.50 GAA, .920% save)

People have overlooked Andrei Vasilevskiy so far this season just because they look at his numbers. Out of all the games played so far this season, I can only count on one hand the mistakes he’s made in net. His numbers don’t look great, but he’s played well on a Lightning team with a struggling defense to start the season. He’s looking even better than he did to start the season and has really improved his numbers in net.

Rating: A

Brain Elliott (1-1-0, 3.08 GAA, .880% save)

Brian Elliott, the new backup goaltender for the Tampa Bay Lightning, has had a slow start with his new team. Losing 5-1 against the Buffalo Sabres in a game where Elliott made some costly mistakes, and letting in three goals against the Ottawa Senators and not having the greatest stats against them, it’s proven to be slow. He was a lot better, though, against Ottawa, so if he can keep that up, his rating will go up, and so will his numbers.

Rating: D

Related: Lightning Aren’t Getting Enough From Point to Start the 2021-22 Season

As mentioned earlier, these ratings weren’t based solely on point totals. They were mainly based on individual effort and how well they worked with the team and their lines. There are definitely some surprises here, including Sustr and Barre-Boulet having higher ratings than expected, while Raddysh and Colton having low ratings. These ratings can change as the season moves forward, whether it’s for better or for worse.

But a lot of the low ratings should go up, as the fourth line has seen massive improvement as of late. The high rated and low rated players are those to keep an eye on, as they can get better or worse at any point through the season, and the unexpected ratings are ones to pay a bit of attention to. Since it’s the beginning of the season, where anything can happen, these ratings are bound to change in the next few weeks.


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