I wrote off bringing in Jassen Cullimore in pre-season. Maybe that was a mistake. Or maybe circumstances would make it look like it was?
Jassen's not putting up big numbers for the Panthers -- that's no shock -- but he's stable. Though he's only played in 21 games this season, he's averaging 14:38 of ice time and is a solid plus 7 at this juncture. If Cullimore was back on the Bolts, however, the situation he would be playing in would be different from where he is now...
Here's the Lightning defense numbers for you to look at:
NamePlus/MinusAverage Ice Time
Look at Brad Lukowich's numbers. He was supposed to be 3rd pair this season (with Boyle, Ranger, Kuba and O'Brien playing in front of him). With Dan Boyle's injury, Brad's been asked to do much more and he's averaging almost 18 minutes of ice time... And weighing down the D with a minus 16. I'm not putting blame on Brad as so much pointing at the numbers.
If Cullimore were here, it'd likely be the same case -- more games, more ice time, more asked of him and lower numbers.
However, those numbers would likely be better than Doug Janik's. The other drag on the defense in his non versatility on ice, Janik's TOI average of 11 minutes or so puts more pressure on the kids (2nd year player Shane O'Brien and rookie Mike Lundin) to cover. Of course, others have had the opportunity to step in and beat Doug for a roster spot -- but that didn't happen. So Doug is playing where and as he should -- as a #6 defensiveman... All while I was expecting the rookies (be it Lundin, Smaby or others) to serve the role and be brought along slowly.
Dan Boyle's return can't come soon enough... But then again, getting the ownership situation squared away couldn't come soon enough either -- having a de-facto roster freeze doesn't help remedy the ills of the franchise.