Lightning’s fourth line is the best line in the league and is led by the top scorer in the game (Nikita Kucherov) and the best offensive player (Kyle Okposo).
Lightning captain Victor Hedman and the second-line center, Michael Grabner, are the top two scoring forwards in the NHL and have a strong supporting cast.
Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman, who is coming off a career year, is the top defensive forward and the team’s best penalty-killer.
Lightning captain Ryan Callahan and the fourth-line goalie, Ben Bishop, are second- and third-line forwards.
The Lightning are currently the fourth most valuable team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, according to Vegas Insider.
But it’s a different story with defense.
The Lightning’s defense is the worst in the League and has been for several seasons.
They have surrendered the third-most goals per game and the fifth-most power-play goals, according a Vegas Insider breakdown.
While the Lightning has a few pieces who can play on the top lines, they don’t have a proven No. 1 defenseman.
They are likely to be using some of their defensemen on the bottom lines, with a top-six center and a power-forward who can get the job done.
There’s not much to choose from in this group.
If Tampa Bay makes a trade, it will likely be to acquire a defenseman like Ryan Callagher, who can move to the third line.
In terms of depth, the Lightning have a couple of promising prospects.
Logan Couture, who signed a four-year, $18.5 million contract, is one of the NHL’s top young defenseman.
He’s shown good speed and skill and is a smart player.
Alex Killorn, who’s coming off his second career 40-goal season, has been the Lightning’s second-leading scorer with 27 goals.
He also has good size (6-foot-1, 202 pounds) and can make plays in the defensive zone.
Bryan Rust, who has spent the last four seasons with the St. Louis Blues, is another promising young defenseman who could move up in the lineup and get more ice time.
Kucheroov is the team leader in goals (37) and points (56), and is averaging more than 25 minutes per game.
He was third among defensemen with a plus-16 rating last season and leads the NHL in power-playing goals (10).
Couture and Rust are the only two forwards on the Lightning who have played more than 100 NHL games, and they’ve also been good for the Lightning.
Callahan has been a solid player in all three categories, and he has a good understanding of how to use his skill set.
Grabner has shown flashes of brilliance in the past, and the Lightning could use him to score more goals and help the team win games.
And Lightning fans will be happy to know that Stralmen is a big part of that team’s success, with the third highest plus-minus rating in the entire NHL.
With the Lightning, you have to be patient with a young defense that has been through some ups and downs.
I don’t know if this is the way it’s going to go, but the Lightning may be ready to go all-in on a rebuild.
As a result, they could be looking to add a good player to replace the ones they have already acquired.
Maybe the Lightning is looking to trade for a defenseman who can score on a nightly basis.
Or maybe the Lightning wants to acquire someone who can bring a physical element to the lineup.
Whatever the plan is, it would help the Lightning in their pursuit of success in the upcoming season.
For more of the latest Lightning news, follow @ChrisWrightDC on Twitter.