The Lightning are carrying a total of 23 players - the league maximum.
23 players -- nine defensemen, twelve forwards, two goaltenders.
That's what makes the news that Ryan Craig was placed on recall waivers (meaning the Bolts are trying to call him up) so intriguing. Craig, sent down to the Norfolk Admirals before the season, has 7 goals and 2 assists in 11 AHL games this season.
It's not a poor move to make whatsoever, though the Bolts risk losing Ryan if another team claims him off waivers... But having fresh forward depth would be a great thing to have...
But at what cost?
In order to add Craig to the roster, if he indeed does clear waivers, the Bolts will have to move someone off the current roster. Who that could be and why is currently a mystery. Damian Cristodero at the St. Petersburg Times pointed out:
...Defenseman Paul Ranger is on an indefinite leave of absence for a personal matter. Also, wing Drew Miller, with zero points in 13 games, played just four minutes in Tuesday's victory over the Maple Leafs.
One would think that Ranger may be designated unable to perform and tagged as something-or-other that creates a roster spot for the Lightning. There's also the potential that Miller is hurt (no word from the team on that) and may be placed on IR -- again, creating a roster spot.
Or... Maybe the Bolts have a pending deal for one of their extra defensemen? What was supposed to be only two roster spots reserved for extra defensemen, designated so over the summer by GM Brian Lawton, turned into three after the pre-season... Every time Lukas Krajicek hits the ice, there is speculation he is being showcased... But not a thing has materialized besides rumors and innuendo among hockey fans.
This may end up being moot, as Craig may be claimed by any of the other 29 NHL franchises. If that were to happen and Craig's four year career with the Lightning came to and end, the Bolts woudl ahve to seek other avenues to gain a 13th foward for the roster.
What will remain a mystery, for a few hours longer at least, is the why this transaction is taking place and who it's displacing.