GM: Bryan Camara (4th GM in team’s history)
Coach: Willie Desjardins (Replaced Peter Laviolette after Season 4; Laviollette replaced Todd McLellan after Season 3)
Last season: 15th overall (Lost to Berlin in Round 1)
Ins and Outs (Season 6 to Season 7)
Out: Dustin Byfuglien (free agent), Nick Bjugstad (trade), Magnus Paajarvi (trade ), Emerson Etem (trade), Marcus Foligno (trade), Evgeny Kuznetsov (trade), Darnell Nurse (trade), David Legwand (free agent)
In: Ryan Kesler (trade), Wayne Simmonds (trade), Niklas Danielsson (trade), Matt Moulson (trade), Mike Fisher (free agent), Martin Erat (free agent), Troy Brouwer (waivers), Brendan Perlini (trade), Frank Vatrano (draft), Reid Boucher (draft), Max Jones (draft)
In Place (Key players signed past Season 7)
John Tavares, C; Steven Stamkos, RW; Drew Doughty, D; Ryan Kesler, C; Karri Ramo, G
1. Are there better forwards anywhere in the EURO? John Tavares and Steven Stamkos set records in their first year together in Lisbon and now, in their third season together, they are ripping it up again, this time with Matt Moulson on the left wing. Moulson didn’t get prime ice time the last three seasons in Belfast – where he won two Cups – and he seems determined to prove his earlier seasons in Milan and Copenhagen weren’t flukes. Those seasons were in the 30-goal, 75-point neighborhood. Moulson is in great physical condition and he’s on a pace to surpass his previous personal best stats. If you survive Tavares-Stamkos-Moulson, get ready for line 2 featuring Joe Pavelski, Wayne Simmonds and Marian Hossa. They’re really good. How about shifting us down to face line three? OK, you get Ryan Kesler at center with former Rookie of the Year Nicklas Danielsson and Martin Erat. To answer the question, Lisbon may not have the best set of forwards in the league, but this group will be able to keep pressure on defensemen and goalies all night long.
2. How did Willie keep his job? Season 6 was OK for most teams, but for a team with so many stars coming off a season in which they finished fifth overall, that 15th place finish and early playoff exit had to be a huge disappointment for Lisbon. Coach Willie Desjardins’ contract came up for renewal in the off season and lo and behold, he’s back in charge this year. What was General Manager Bryan Camara thinking? He must have been thinking the players were the problem last year, not the coach. Six young players were traded away in an obvious move toward veteran influence. And Dustin Byfuglien refused to sign on for more time in Portugal, and that decision freed up some cap space for Camara, who welcomed Ryan Kesler, Niklas Danielsson, Wayne Simmonds and Matt Moulson to Lisbon through trades, then veterans Mike Fisher, Martin Erat and Troy Brouwer via free agency and waivers. The result is a much more mature group of guys for Desjardins to work with and after a sizzling start to Season 7, Camara looks like a genius.
3. What’s their weakness? Goalie Karri Ramo isn’t mentioned in the same sentence with Jonathan Quick, Carey Price, Cory Schneider and Henrik Lundquist, but he is a top 10 goalie in the EURO League with five seasons under his belt and he’s only 25. He is getting better and better and a team can go pretty far with him in the crease. One would think the defense corps might be a weakness in that they are all-offense in Coach Willie Desjardins’ system. Getting the puck to such a talented group of forwards is a great idea, but don’t forget to have someone stay back occasionally and keep poor Karri company. Still, it’s working because Lisbon is among the three best defensive teams in the league early in Season 7. Drew Doughty is the anchor of the defense and no one can find fault in his play. Jared Spurgeon is 28 and playing with Doughty on the top pairing, a spot reserved for Dustin Byfuglien a year ago. Seth Jones, Jonas Holos and Sami Vatanen could use a little seasoning and the number 6 defenseman, Damon Severson, is just 21 and although he’s very good with the puck, he and Jones back there at the same time leave some big holes for opposing forwards to exploit. It seems Lisbon’s defense could use more size and a little more concern for the defensive part of the job. Veteran Matt Greene offers both, but with the team on a roll to begin the year, it looks like he will remain on the farm club until an injury forces a call-up.
Season Place PTS PP % PK % SPG SAPG GPG GAPG PIM
Season 6 15 86 16.1 81.6 29.99 27.80 3.11 3.16 9.76
Season 5 5 108 23.0 82.9 31.28 27.27 3.91 3.20 8.23
Season 4 14 82 18.5 77.9 30.63 31.39 3.38 3.73 9.70
Season 3 16 83 20.2 80.9 28.39 31.09 3.41 3.46 11.80
Season 2 21 70 13.0 80.3 27.78 30.67 2.83 3.73 11.83
Season 1 23 57 18.8 76.4 26.76 32.20 3.04 4.38 9.78
Top Draft picks
Season 1: Steven Stamkos, C, current age 27. Games played: 492; points: 646; plus-minus 0
Season 2: Karri Ramo, G, age 25. GP: 301; Save Pct. 88.8
Season 3: Seth Jones, D, age 23. GP: 246; points: 53; -29
Season 4: Sami Vatanen, D, age 25. GP: 240; points: 66; -17
Season 5: Nicolas Aube-Kubel, RW, age 20.
Season 6: Adam Lowry, LW, age 22.
Season 7: Frank Vatrano, RW, age 21.
Season 1 (picks without years listed are from initial draft)
Traded Round 3 pick (used to draft Brent Seabrook) and Round 4 pick (Jason Spezza ) to Bern for Claude Giroux
Traded Round 7 pick (Slava Voynov), Round 10 pick (Trevor Daley) and 2013 Rd 2 pick (Erik Ersberg) to Madrid for Max Pacioretty
Traded Josh Gorges to Prague for Jared Spurgeon
Traded 2014 Rd 2 pick (traded later) (Hunter Shinkaruk) to Minsk for Jonas Holos
Traded Travis Zajac to Helsinki for Kyle Clifford and Gareth Roberts.
Traded Max Pacioretty to Moscow for Darnell Nurse, 2016 Round 1 pick (later traded to Copenhagen – Marten Madsen) and 2017 Round 1 pick (Adam Lowry)
Traded 2016 Round 1 pick (Linus Klasen) to Gothenburg for Zach Parise
Traded Dougie Hamilton, Gareth Roberts and 2016 Round 1 pick (Moscow’s, later traded to Bratislava – Marten Madsen) to Copenhagen for Shea Weber
Traded Claude Giroux to Edinburgh for John Tavares
Transactions after the start of Season 5:
Claimed Mike Ribeiro (waivers)
Signed Hayden Hawkey (free agent)
Claimed Jordan Caron (waivers)
Traded Joe Thornton to Bern for Evgeny Kuznetsov and Mats Rosselli Olsen
Traded 2017 Round 3 pick (Melker Karlsson) to Moscow for Aleksey Kalyuzhny
Traded Jacob De La Rose to Copenhagen for Clarke MacArthur
Traded Kyle Brodziak and 2018 Round 1 pick (Jaccob Slavin) to Copenhagen for Joe Pavelski and 2018 Round 3 pick (Bern’s originally – Max Jones)
Traded 2017 Round 2 pick (Colin White) to Minsk for 2017 Round 2 pick (Mathew Barzal) and 2017 Round 3 pick (Evgeny Svechnikov)
Traded Adam Lowry to Stockholm for Marcus Foligno
After Season 6 started:
Traded Clarke MacArthur to Dublin for 2018 Round 2 pick (Frank Vatrano)
Claimed Matt Martin on waivers
Traded Nick Bjugstad to Milan for Niklas Danielsson
Traded 2020 Round 3 pick to Belfast for Matt Moulson
Traded Marcus Foligno, Darnell Nurse and 2019 Round 3 pick to St. Petersburg for Wayne Simmonds and 2019 Round 2 pick (Berlin’s)
Traded Emerson Etem and Magnus Paajarvi to Dublin for Ryan Kesler
Traded Matt Martin (later reacquired off waivers) to Dublin for Brendan Perlini
Traded Evgeny Kuznetzov and 2019 Round 2 (Berlin’s) pick to Berlin for 2019 Round 1 pick