On to the next season we go and thankfully my team was still pretty stacked and felt confident that the luck could turn our way and the next four 1st rounders couldn't possibly be lottery picks again could they? The next season begins a bit slowly but then the team started playing like they were supposed with the playoffs never really being a concern for any part of the season. Unfortunately, Pacioretty, the player I thought was supposed to be my best forward only had 14 goals and 37 points through 56 games while posting a lousy +4 rating on a team that was out scoring opponents quite handedly at this point.
This is where the tough decision came into play. I felt my team was so dominant up and down the lineup but my best scorer wasn't to effective and I wish I was a little bit deeper at center. An opportunity came where I could replace pacioretty with a similarly rated winger but a bit older and not talented a long with a number 1 hall of fame center with amazing ratings but was retiring at seasons end. To this day, I feel like that decision to trade Patches for Hornqvist and Datsyuk is the reason we won the cup.
Hornqvist came in and finished the season with 24 points in 25 games and added 20 points in 24 playoff games surpassing Patches production by a landslide since he had been with us. But not only did we improve with Hornqvist but we also got Datsyuk who manned the number 1 center spot and contributed 28 points in 23 games down the stretch and added 12 more in 20 playoff games while shutting down the other teams top players with a +12 playoff rating.
It was such an awesome feeling to win the Cup. It didn't matter anymore that we didn't make the playoffs the two previous seasons. We won our division, we won the presidents trophy and we won the stanley cup. The work wasn't done there though; we still didn't have our 1st round picks for the next 3 years and still had a very talented team. We wanted to be right back where we were next year and the following years after that.
Unfortunately the next two seasons have had similar results to before the cup season where the lightning have fallen short of the playoffs. Gone are all the main pieces that we acquired with those 6 first round picks (though we did acquire the last one back) but we only made the playoffs during one of the 5 seasons. Thankfully we did win the cup in that one season that we got there but one has to ask themselves was the 1 cup surrounded by 4 miserable seasons of missing the playoffs still considered a success? Other people may have other opinions but I must say that I wouldn't have changed a thing cause sometimes the sim gods make you suffer before and after a very accomplished season,