It is quite known that the lightning will not be competing in the nefhl next season, however the goal still is to make the playoffs in the 2014-2015 season and be a competitive team going forward. With that being said, the 2013-2014 season in the nhl for my players becomes extremely important. Here is a look at what we see our lines potentially looking like for the 2014-2015 season with projections on how the players will do in the NHL.
Jiri Hudler Brandon Dubinsky Erik Cole
This line comes out of the Kevin playbook. Two physical, intense and defensively responsible forwards with skill in Dubi and Cole with a more soft and highly skilled Hudler to compete and ware down other teams top lines. Hudler is going to have more responsibility in calgary with the rebuild started so 25 goals and 50 points should be easy to attain. Dubi had no luck burying the puck last year but was getting a lot of chances and still had 18 A in 29 games. Look for 20 goal 50 point season for dubi. Cole has always been a hit or miss throughout his career but always seems to come back to form after a bad season. I don't expect the year he had 2 years ago but 25 goals and 25 assist shouldn't be hard for him to get.
Mikkel Boedker Derek Roy Devin Setogucchi
This line is more of a skiiled line with a little physicality from seto. Boedker improved offensively quite a bit getting more offensive responsibility in Phoenix and we expect his numbers to go up again this season as he continues to showcase his great speed and skill. Derek Roy is a UFA in the nhl and he'll surely pick a team with playoff chances but also a team that will put him in an offensive role. I expect him to get back to his past numbers of perhaps 20 goals and 65 points. Seto was only playing about 12 minutes a game last year and put up numbers that I would be happy to see him with again this year in the nhl. We also have hopes that minny may give him more time on the ice and he can improve from last year!
Filip Forsberg Travis Zajac Mikael Granlund
In two years from now this could easily be our first line, however with granlund and forsberg just going into their 2nd nhl seasons i expect there to be growing pains. forsberg in 5 games last year showed that he's got the skill and phisicallity to play in this league but also showed he has a lot to learn. Luckily Nashville needs offensive help and may let him grow on the big team! Granlund had more of a showing with minny and while he dazzled at times with his skill it was hardly consistently. I personally think injuries and pressure had an impact and expect him to put that behind him and come out strong and with more consistency next season. Finally Zajac if anything will provide great defensive awareness at the very least but he also has the skill to put up a 60 point season, either way he'll be a very usefull center on this team
Benoit Pouliot Zach Smith Zach Kassian
This line has size and should be a good pressence on the 4th line. Smitty will be a great checking center and will do a good job on the PK while we don't expect much offensively he always seems to create chances so anything is possible but all that matters is that he keeps throwing the body and playing well defensively. Pouliot and Kassian are interesting for the 4th line as I feel if they are put in the right situation they could have seasons in the nhl where they could easily bump any of the guys in front of them. with that being said, even if they don't have the offensive years that they have the potential for, they are still great 4th liners that could move up in the lineup in case of injuries.
**Mentions must got out to Richard Panik, Joel Armia and Marcus Kruger. Armia has a ton of offensive potential and should get a chance in buffalo and may surprise in his rookie year. Panik showed a nice skill set last year in tampa and looked ready to make the jump and could easilly steal a spot of on the team. Kruger is a solid NHL player but unfortunately his numbers and size don't translate well in the sim, he would have to be a 20 goal scorer to compensate for lack of size and IT but anything is possible.