Hextall on Hockey: Cup champs didn’t panic after 2019 sweep

In 2019, the Tampa Bay Lightning followed up a 62-win regular season by being swept in the first round by Columbus.

The President’s Trophy winners’ playoffs came to a quick end in stunning fashion.

What if Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois had strayed from his core and his coach and “blown it up” by hitting the panic button?

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He didn’t.

Instead, BriseBois — then a newly minted GM after Steve Yzerman’s departure to Detroit — kept his coach in Jon Cooper, then addressed the team’s need.

With enough offensive firepower up front, the Lightning needed “guys with dirt under their fingernails.”

BriseBois traded first-round picks for just that, in Barclay Goodrow and Blake Coleman. He then signed free agent Pat Maroon.

Read more: Hextall on Hockey — Look at Jets’ season as a whole

BriseBois added seven new players to Tampa’s roster while keeping the team’s elite core intact — Hart Trophy winner Nikita Kucherov, Norris Trophy winner Victor Hedman and Vezina Trophy winner, goalie Andrei Vasilevsky, all remained members of the Lightening.

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Each player just mentioned has played significant roles in Tampa Bay winning back-to-back Stanley Cups.

BriseBois has been masterful in his moves but his best move was not to panic.

That lone move that took the Lightning from sweep to Stanley times two.

Click to play video: 'Clock strikes midnight for Montreal Canadiens' Clock strikes midnight for Montreal Canadiens
Clock strikes midnight for Montreal Canadiens – Jul 8, 2021


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