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NHL Tampa Bay Lightning

5 Questions The Tampa Bay Lightning Must Answer by October

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5 Questions The Tampa Bay Lightning Must Answer by October

Tampa Bay Lightning
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After an impressive regular season, the Tampa Bay Lightning were swept by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of last year's playoffs. With a few new faces in the lineup and an offseason that weakened the Eastern Conference, the Lightning will be looking to establish themselves as Stanley Cup contenders when the 2014-15 season begins.

5. Does Brenden Morrow Have Anything Left in the Tank?

Brenden Morrow Blues
Marilyn Indahi - USA TODAY Sports

5. Does Brenden Morrow Have Anything Left in the Tank?

Brenden Morrow Blues
Marilyn Indahi - USA TODAY Sports

The former captain of the Dallas Stars has made stops in Pittsburgh and St. Louis before ending up with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but the question begging to be asked is how much gas he has left. The 35-year-old has been on a steady decline over the last few seasons, and while he adds depth to the bottom-six forwards for Tampa Bay, it'd be a huge boost if he could re-establish himself as a legitimate scoring threat on a nightly basis.

4. Can Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson Avoid Sophomore Slumps?

Ondrej Palat
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4. Can Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson Avoid Sophomore Slumps?

Ondrej Palat  copy
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Both Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson had remarkable seasons in Tampa last year, but it's not uncommon for there to be a dip in production the year after huge rookie campaigns. Palat and Johnson combined for 109 points last season, but they will need to be even better if the Lightning want to make a run at having home-ice advantage in the playoffs.

3. What Will the Goaltender Split Be?

Islanders Evgeni Nabokov
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3. What Will the Goaltender Split Be?

Islanders Evgeni Nabokov
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The main reason for the Lightning's demise in last year's playoffs was due to Ben Bishop getting injured late in the year and forcing him to miss the postseason. With Evgeni Nabokov giving them a more consistent netminder in terms of legitimacy and consistency, the goaltender split is something that will need to be configured very carefully in order to keep Bishop fresh and healthy.

2. How Big of an Impact Will Brian Boyle Have?

Rangers Would Not Have Gotten Kevin Hayes Without Brian Boyle
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2. How Big of an Impact Will Brian Boyle Have?

Rangers Would Not Have Gotten Kevin Hayes Without Brian Boyle
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One of the most underrated acquisitions of the offseason was the Lightning signing power forward Brian Boyle to a three-year, $ 6 million contract. Boyle was a spark plug for the New York Rangers last year and a huge reason why they made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. He's the definition of a role player, but it's yet to be determined just how big that role may be with the Lightning.

1. Can Steven Stamkos Return to Normal Form?

Tampa Bay Lightning
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1. Can Steven Stamkos Return to Normal Form?

Tampa Bay Lightning
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The fact that Steven Stamkos returned at all last season after suffering a fractured right tibia last November when he slid violently into the goal post was impressive. It's no secret that Stamkos is the soul of the Lightning, so if he returns completely unscathed, he could be in for a big year.

Shane Darrow is an NHL writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @ShaneDarrow for more up-to-date information on the NHL offseason.