Tampa Bay Lightning dynasty is not over

Playoff Exit Doesn't Mean Lightning's Dynasty Is Over

After a first-round exit to the Maple Leafs, there’s concern that the Lightning is entering a new, lesser, era. One where they aren't as competitive as we’re used to them being. That's not happening. This is but a temporary setback for Tampa.

Let’s dive into why the 'Ning's window as a competitive side isn’t closing just yet.

The Core Is Strong

What made Tampa such a powerhouse was its core of hypertalented stars. Players like Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, Victor Hedman and Andrei Vasilevskiy powered them to two Stanley Cup championships in back-to-back years and the second-best regular-season record from 2018-19 to 2022-23.

And because time never stops its endless march, this core of players is of course getting older. But not old enough where it’s over. Most of these players are still well within their best years. Keeping Tampa competitive for a little while longer.

Kucherov is only 29 and still in his prime. He scored 113 points last season. That production isn’t about to disappear. Point (27), has a while as a top producer in this league and he’s just getting better with his first 50+ goal season. Both are players that give Tampa a ton of production and ice time (the size of the bubble in this graph denotes time on ice relative to the other names displayed).

And look, these "peak years" are for a typical player, and well, Kucherov and Point aren’t typical players. They’ll likely continue to be elite players for years beyond the typical period. You don’t have to look too far off Tampa’s roster to see what I mean. Stamkos and Hedman are outside of those prime years and yet are still playing at the top end of the league for their respective positions.

And I haven’t mentioned goalie Vasilevskiy. He’ll be 29 years old by the start of the 2023-24 season. A goalie’s peak can last longer than a skater's. The impacts of aging don’t start to really show until their thirties. Hockey Graphs looked at this a while back and based on their research you could expect "Vasi" to still hold a 0.910SV% (or better) until the age of 32. Another four years.

AgeExpected SV%

*Career average through age 28 season

With that core of talent, from between the pipes to the forwards, the Lightning have the skill, on paper at least, to continue competing at the top of the NHL.

Room For More

And that’s assuming the Bolts roster stays exactly as they are with no additions. Usually, teams that start to fall off from competing at the highest level are loaded with bloated contracts that keep them in cap hell. Unable to add, they must wait until some of those deals - tied to aging and underperforming players - come off the books.

Going into the 2023-24 season, the Lightning have $2.4 million in projected cap space. That’s with Brent Seabrook's contract. Moving that deal would create $9.275 million in cap space.

Of course, Tampa has to sign a backup goalie and some of their bottom six, but that’s hardly going to chew up all of that cap space. The team from West Florida is going to have room for more.

And look, they don’t have to add top-end talent. I just went over how many of those guys they've already got. They need solid depth players. Guys that can score 45-60 points in a season. That type of player will likely cost between $4 to $5 million AAV.

PlayerAAVPoints/Game Before Deal
Trevor Moore$4.2 million0.54
Nino Niederreiter$4.0 million0.59
Ryan Strome$5.0 million0.73
Rickard Rackell$5.0 million0.59
Tomas Tatar$4.5 million0.60


The Lightning’s window might look like it’s closing, but GM Patrice Brisebois has the cap space to prop open the window for another few years.

Tampa Bay Lightning 2023-24 Points Totals

This core put up 98 points for Tampa in 22-23. And that was considered a down year. Tampa’s points total this season was 103.5. That line will drop for the 2023-24 season. After being eliminated in the first round of the 2022 playoffs, Boston’s points total for the 2022-23 season dropped from 102.5 to 96.5.

The Lightning aren't done just yet. They'll be able to extend their competitive window, without a doubt. I’m not suggesting Tampa is going to add a page to the history books like Boston did in 22-23, but I wouldn’t doubt the group to hit the OVER on what will surely be a line that is below 100 points.

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