Lightning head into offseason with battered bodies, feelings of emptiness

The ice at Amalie Arena hasn't had enough time to melt, but the reality of losing the Stanley Cup hasn't taken long to sink in with the Lightning.

"Today, I think the feeling is one of emptiness," said Lightning general manager, Julien BrisBoise.

Empty feelings, but not empty in talent. 

The Lightning have plenty of firepower to compete for the cup next season. The challenge, BrisBoise said, is trying to find salary cap space to keep the team's free agents on the roster, including Ondrej Palat and Nick Paul. 

It's going to be another short summer for this team to reload and recharge.

"Ten weeks, 11 weeks, whatever we've got ‘till training camp opens," reflected team captain Steven Stamkos. "It's kind of ridiculous it's that short again, but we'll find a way. We have in the past, so that's the expectation."

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"I don't think we're done chasing Stanley Cups here," said BrisBoise. "We're set up to be a really competitive team for the foreseeable future."

The Lightning's exit meeting Tuesday revealed what players were battling through, just to play. 

Anthony Cirelli suffered a joint sprain in one shoulder and dislocated his the other. 

Brandon Hagel played with a broken foot starting in the second round. 

Nikita Kucherov played with an MCL knee sprain. 

Nick Paul also suffered a shoulder joint sprain and MCL injury. 

Corey Perry sprained his shoulder. 

Ryan McDonagh played with a mangled finger he sustained blocking a shot against the Rangers.

"I don't know what it is. I guess we're tougher," said Nick Paul about his team playing through injuries. "It's just the want to win. I'm not saying other sports don't want it as bad as we do, but we're willing to put it all on the line."

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"When you do all that, and you win, it was so worth it, and it makes some of that stuff easier," said Stamkos. "When you don't accomplish your goal, it's tough because you realize some of the sacrifices the guys made were unbelievable."

Brayden Point wasn't able to overcome a torn right quadricep. He tried and played in  games one and two, but he just wasn't the same player – who scored more playoff goals since 2016 than any other player in the NHL.

"I've had tears in the past that you can still find your stride and you can still play and still be effective," said Point. "This one's different and just the power wasn't there and the tight turns and all that kind of stuff."

"It was tough, but just watching the guys and seeing what they did, seeing the effort they put in, it was extremely special to watch," Point added.

Point says his injury is expected to heal in time for training camp.

"He's a tough guy," said Kucherov. "He'll be back stronger, mentally and physically, and we'll see the best of him next year."

Point will be ready to return in September, but for now it's time for the Lightning to get some rest.