Rangers’ Barclay Goodrow not surprised Lightning thriving

TAMPA, Fla. — The last time Barclay Goodrow was on the Amalie Arena ice, he was hoisting the Stanley Cup for a second year in a row with his former team, the Lightning.

Goodrow returned to his old stomping grounds Thursday, this time entering the arena through the security entrance and with a Rangers crest on his equipment bag. It has been nearly six months since his name was scheduled to be engraved on Lord Stanley for a second time. Just 10 days after that, the Lightning traded Goodrow’s signing rights to the Rangers, who subsequently locked him up with a six-year deal.

“I’ve been traded a couple times, but I haven’t been back to San Jose since I was traded there, so this is the first time coming back to a team I used to play for,” Goodrow said Thursday after the Rangers’ practice at Amalie Arena. “Obviously, brings back a lot of memories, a lot of good times we had here in this building. It was cool to see the banner in the rafters for the first time and just brought back a lot of good emotions.”

Barclay Goodrow
NHLI via Getty Images

The Rangers are set to play a home-and-home series against the Lightning, beginning on Friday in Tampa before the two teams meet again Sunday at Madison Square Garden for an afternoon matinee. When Goodrow looks at his former team, the 28-year-old center said he sees a squad that is still finding ways to win.

Goodrow noted the Lightning (21-6-4) have dealt with injuries and lots of COVID-19 cases this season. They also lost him and his former linemates Yanni Gourde (expansion draft) and Blake Coleman (signed a free agent with Flames), as well as others such as Tyler Johnson (traded to Blackhawks) in the offseason. Plus, Nikita Kucherov is expected to miss approximately eight to 10 weeks after undergoing surgery for a lower-body injury on Oct. 16.

Younger players have stepped up and filled in vacant roles, Goodrow pointed out, which has allowed Tampa Bay to remain a powerhouse.

“The nucleus of the team is still there,” Goodrow said.

Having been brought to New York partially due to his playoff experience and knowledge of winning ways, Goodrow said he believes the Rangers have started to learn what their game looks like when everyone is clicking. He added that players need to know what they should be doing individually in order to have success — and he thinks the Rangers are beginning to get that.

As for the upcoming games against the Lightning, Goodrow is able to give his new team some insider insight.

“Obviously, I know the systems, know how they play,” Goodrow said. “But I think in the end, it comes down to our game. If we’re playing the way we’re capable of and playing the right way and not cheating things and playing straight lines, I think when we have all four lines and 60 [minutes of effort] going on, we’re a pretty hard team to play against. We’ve seen that throughout this season. So I think the biggest thing is focusing on that and just controlling what we’re able to control.”

So does he have any tips for how to beat the NHL’s top point-producing defenseman in Victor Hedman?

“He’s a pretty good player,” Goodrow said with a laugh. “Maybe I’ll share a few things with the boys.”