After one of the best seasons in recent years, the Tampa Bay Lightning cleaned up at the NHL Awards in June. Forward Nikita Kucherov took home three awards — the Hart Trophy, Art Ross Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award — and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltender.
Related: The 2019 THW Year-End Awards
There are 10 awards players can win at the NHL Awards in June, and the Lightning have contenders for each one. There are also some players who might not be in the conversation for a trophy right now, but they could be with a big season in 2019-20. Here are some predictions for which Lightning players could win trophies or awards after this coming season.
Lady Byng Trophy
The Lady Byng Trophy is given to the player who best combines sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct and ability, and no one better fits the mold for this award on the Lightning than Brayden Point. Last season he had 41 goals, 51 assists and 92 points — 35 of which were on the power play — and also finished 41st in Lady Byng Trophy voting.
Someone who could break out for the Lightning as a Lady Byng Trophy candidate is Anthony Cirelli. He had 39 points last season and was one of the best penalty killers in the league, and he only had 34 penalty minutes. He didn’t get a lot of ice time, but he could be a dark horse for the trophy with an even better season in 2019-20.
Following what some consider the worst season of his career, the Lightning signed defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to a one-year, $1.75 million contract. He had just 2 goals and 26 assists for 28 points and was minus-15 in 73 games last season. If he can get back to scoring 40 or more points and help the Lightning win the Stanley Cup, the 30-year-old will receive some consideration for the Masterton Trophy, given to the player who best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication.
The Lightning also signed defenseman Luke Schenn to a one-year, $700,000 contract. He only played 26 games last season with the Anaheim Ducks and Vancouver Canucks, and while he’s never been a big point producer, if he were to have a career year, he could also receive a Masterton nomination.
Canucks forward Elias Pettersson ran away with the rookie of the year award last year and the Lightning didn’t really have anyone to challenge him. Many believe first-overall pick Jack Hughes or second-overall pick Kappo Kaako will win the award, but the Lightning have a possible sleeper in Carter Verhaeghe.
The 24-year-old has spent the last two seasons with the Syracuse Crunch in the American Hockey League (AHL) and had 82 points in 76 games in 2018-19. If he can crack the Lightning lineup out of training camp, expect Verhaeghe to be in the running for the Calder Trophy.
Ryan O’Reilly won the Selke Trophy last season with 77 points and a plus-22 rating as the league’s best defensive forward. Point finished ninth in the voting last year and eighth in 2017-18, meaning he should be near the top of the conversation with another big season for the Lightning.
Two spots behind Point this season for the Selke Trophy was Cirelli, the Lightning’s best penalty-killing forward. As he continues to get older and gain more experience, Cirelli will become even better on the defensive side of the puck and should be considered for the Selke Trophy along with Point.
Ted Lindsay Award
Nikita Kucherov was voted by the NHL Players Association as the league’s best player, and it’s likely he will be in the conversation once again this season. He’s had back-to-back 100-point seasons on a Lightning team that is essentially the same as last season. While it will be hard to repeat a 128-point campaign, he will still score often and play at an elite level.
Some of the Lightning’s tops stars will also get consideration with big seasons, but the most likely candidate will be captain Steven Stamkos. He had 45 goals last season and if he can score 50 goals or 100 points, he will likely be a finalist for the award after the 2019-20 season.
Mark Giordano won the trophy for the league’s best defenseman last season, and rightfully so. However, the Lightning have a perennial candidate for the trophy in Victor Hedman. He has been a finalist for the award in each of the last three seasons, and he won the award in 2017-18.
If not Hedman, the Lightning have two other possible Norris Trophy winners: Ryan McDonagh and Mikhail Sergachev. McDonagh had one of the best regular seasons of his career in 2018-19 and finished eighth for the trophy. Sergachev, although a stretch, could get to that level with an outstanding breakout season. It’s more likely McDonagh will get consideration but don’t count the young Sergachev out.
Vasilevskiy was the runaway winner for the award given to the league’s best goalie last season, and he should be in the running once again in 2019-20. He was also a finalist in 2017-18, but somehow has improved on his numbers since that season. It would be unrealistic to say that backup goaltenders Louis Domingue or Curtis McElhinney could win the award since Vasilevskiy has been at or near the top for the last two seasons.
Maurice Richard Trophy
Last year’s top goal scorer was none other than Alex Ovechkin, winning the award for the eighth time. However, the Lightning had one of the top offenses in the league and three players with more than 40 goals: Stamkos (45), Point (41) and Kucherov (41). My money to win the award for the Lightning would be on Stamkos.
Stamkos was the last player in the league to score 60 goals in a season, and the 2018-19 season was the first time he scored more than 40 goals since 2014-15. He’s the likely candidate, but both Point and Kucherov could explode on a goal-scoring spree throughout the 2019-20 season.
Art Ross Trophy
Kucherov won the scoring title last season, and it’s likely he will be in the conversation once again since he’s playing with most of the same players. He’s always going to have to compete with the likes of Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby, but he’s right there with them in terms of scoring.
It’s the usual suspects for Art Ross — Kucherov, Stamkos and Point. They’re the top-tier scorers on the Lightning, and if they can improve on their 2018-19 season, they should be in the scoring race at the end of the regular season.
Kucherov also won the trophy as the league’s MVP last season, and he was the runaway first-place finisher. He broke Alexander Mogilny’s single-season NHL record for points by a Russian-born player with 128 points. If he’s near the level he was at last season, it’s hard to say he won’t be in the MVP conversation.
On defense, Hedman could have a career year and get some consideration for the award. Vasilevskiy could also put up numbers like Carey Price did in 2014-15 when he won the trophy. Stamkos and Point will also have their names thrown around in the conversation, but it’s those five that will lead the Lightning charge.
A huge fan of all things hockey. Albion College (Mich.) alumni and currently a digital content producer at WZZM 13 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Lover of anything Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Tigers related. Collector of 168 hats and counting, as well as eight hockey jerseys.