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Lightning Should Maintain on to Anthony Cirelli – The Hockey Writers – Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning ahead Anthony Cirelli was closely concerned in commerce rumors main as much as free company. After re-acquiring Ryan McDonagh from the Nashville Predators, the Lightning wanted cap area to re-sign their captain, Steven Stamkos, and Cirelli’s identify was first on the record. In spite of everything, an annual common worth of $6.25 million for a 45-point participant is a bit dear. Nonetheless, Cirelli’s affect defensively makes the contract value each penny, and basic supervisor Julien BriseBois determined to carry on to the 26-year-old.

Associated: Ought to the Lightning Commerce Anthony Cirelli?

Off-Puck/Forecheck Specialist: Explaining Cirelli’s Elite Protection

Cirelli is extensively identified for his elite defensive play. The middle completed tied-Twenty third in voting for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, awarded to the NHL ahead with one of the best defensive ability. Whereas followers acknowledge Cirelli is a defensive monster, no person understands why he continues to close down high ahead traces. Corey Sznajder’s microstats from All Three Zones assist reply why Cirelli is a first-class defensive ahead.

Sznajder wrote an article final summer season referred to as The Microstat Participant Compass, which divides gamers into totally different archetypes primarily based on their microstats. In different phrases, Sznajder concluded that microstats transcend zone entries and zone exits, and gamers with scattered microstat profiles could be worthwhile exterior of his work. Cirelli’s microstat profile explains why he’s elite defensively.

The Lightning ahead falls beneath the “off-puck/forecheck specialist” class. These gamers create a excessive quantity of pictures with low boxscore and likelihood numbers. Typically, these gamers have unquantifiable traits that stats are likely to underrate. In Cirelli’s case, his defensive zone protection is under-appreciated, an off-puck side of the sport.

Cirelli drives upper-echelon defensive outcomes as a result of how a lot floor he covers within the defensive zone. He’s among the finest at closing in on attacking gamers and forcing them to make errors. Whereas he doesn’t at all times earn credit score for a defensive zone retrieval, his capacity to shut opposing forwards into tight areas drives first-class defensive macro-results. Moreover, Cirelli terrorizes groups on the forecheck, making him the proper match for this participant archetype.

Cirelli’s Manufacturing Drove Commerce Rumors

The catalyst for a Cirelli commerce this summer season is his underwhelming offensive manufacturing. When a ahead earns north of $6 million per season, followers anticipate a minimum of 50 factors. Nonetheless, Cirelli recorded 20 objectives and 45 factors and hasn’t reached the 50-point plateau in a season. He has performed at a 50-point tempo in his profession, however world circumstances and accidents prevented him from reaching this milestone.

Anthony Cirelli, Tampa Bay Lightning (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

If Cirelli buried his scoring possibilities and developed a more durable shot, he might rating greater than 50 factors in a season. Furthermore, with extra energy play alternatives, the sky is the restrict for the 26-year-old. He’s much like Minnesota Wild ahead Joel Eriksson Ek in some ways. Each gamers match beneath the “off-puck/forecheck specialist” archetype and play elite defensive hockey.

Nonetheless, Eriksson Ek performs on the highest power-play unit in Minnesota and has a 30-goal season beneath his belt. Whereas he earns solely $5.25 million a season, the consensus is that his contract is a discount. Subsequently, if Cirelli recorded one other 10-15 factors a season, would he nonetheless be a commerce candidate for the Lightning this low season? BriseBois appears to suppose not and has properly held on to the two-way heart.

Projecting Cirelli’s 2024-25 Marketing campaign

With that stated, what are cheap expectations for him subsequent season? Cirelli discovered chemistry alongside workhorse Brandon Hagel at 5-on-5 and on the penalty kill. As well as, he reached a career-high in objectives and factors. Traditionally, NHL gamers attain their peak round Cirelli’s age, and with Jake Guentzel on the roster to assist the 5-on-5 scoring, the 50-point mark is attainable for the two-way ahead. Ideally, Cirelli data a 25-goal, 30-assist marketing campaign and continues to slowly enhance his sport offensively. This enhance in manufacturing would make his $6.25 million towards the cap value each penny.

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Olivia Brown
Olivia Brown
Olivia Brown specializes in soccer, covering MLS, NWSL, and international competitions. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Sports Media. Olivia has written for and ESPN FC, providing thorough coverage and in-depth analysis of the sport.


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