3 Lightning With The Most To Prove In 2023-24

The Tampa Bay Lightning looked like they finally ran out of gas last season after going to three consecutive Stanley Cup Finals. After a first round exit, they're rested and ready to continue the great years. Their core is locked in and they have had to maneuver the rest of the contracts in. With some weird years last season, there's some players with something to prove.

Tanner Jeannot

There will continue to be a ton of criticism towards the Lightning for acquiring Tanner Jeannot unless he returns to the player he was in his rookie season. They paid a hefty price and he wasn't effective on the Lightning at all. Despite that, they paid for him and were willing to give him a chance for two more years to see if he can settle in and contribute. With just six goals and 18 points in 72 games last season, he has a lot to prove and has to produce.

Brandon Hagel

Brandon Hagel might have earned the extension he just received, but his work is far from over. He is now locked in as one of the core pieces on the Lightning for six years at $6.5 million AAV. The 25-year-old hit 30 goals and 64 points in his third season and first with Tampa Bay, but now that Alex Killorn is gone, he will have an even greater need to continue to produce at a high rate. First years with a long-term deal can sometimes be tough. He and the Lightning are hoping that's not the case here.

Victor Hedman

Victor Hedman has a major drop-off in points and his lowest scoring pace since 2015-16 with 49 points in 76 games last season. With his lesser contributions offensively, Mikhail Sergachev took a step forward instead. While there is now a lot expected of Sergachev to repeat that success, Hedman has to prove that he can still produce offensively as well as play solid in his own end. In 2021-22 he put up 85 points. He might not play at over a point-per-game, but 60-65 points should be expected from him.

Photo credit: © Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports