When the Lightning departed the Tampa Bay metro area on Tuesday for their western sojourn of the past week, the team carried a total of 52 players. There had been an inkling made by GM Steve Yzerman that first cuts would come after the team returned from Calgary... And that seems to have come to fruitation.
The Lightning preseason roster is down to 28 players after todays cuts of 21 players. Among them, six need pass through waivers in order to be demoted (Mike Angelidis, Mitch Fritz, Blair Jones, Paul Szczechura, and Vladimir Mihalik) while two others were released from tryout (Tim Marks and Mark Fornataro).
Though cuts have their bad side (seeing popular players like James "Killer" Wright sent down, and promising Alex Hutchings as well as others), this gives us a chance to finally realize the true position battles that are in place for the Lightning.
First off, the complete list of cuts as per the team:
Player ; Assigned ToMike Angelidis * ; Norfolk (AHL)
Mark Barberio ; Norfolk (AHL)
Alex Berry ; Norfolk (AHL)
Mitch Fadden ; Norfolk (AHL)
Matt Fornataro ; Released from tryout
Mitch Fritz * ; Norfolk (AHL)
Stefano Giliati ; Norfolk (AHL)
Radko Gudas ; Norfolk (AHL)
Alex Hutchings ; Norfolk (AHL)
Scott Jackson ; Norfolk (AHL)
Jaroslav Janus ; Norfolk (AHL)
Blair Jones * ; Norfolk (AHL)
Tim Marks ; Released from tryout
Vladimir Mihalik * ; Norfolk (AHL)
Niklas Persson ; Norfolk (AHL)
Kevin Quick ; Norfolk (AHL)
Juraj Simek * ; Norfolk (AHL)
Paul Szczechura * ; Norfolk (AHL)
Dustin Tokarski ; Norfolk (AHL)
Ty Wishart ; Norfolk (AHL)
James Wright ; Norfolk (AHL)
* - Must clear waivers
First thing of note that came to my mind was the fact Cedrick Desjardins was not also demoted. Dejardins and Dan Ellis both spent time starting during the four game week. This move is probably insurance as Mike Smith continues to heal from his broken finger.
Secondly, despite praise from Guy Boucher, Blair Jones goes back to the AHL.
Meanwhile, camp invitee Eric Perrin remains with the squad, as do wings Dana Tyrell and Johan Harju and center Marc-Antoine Pouliot. That keeps the forward field crowded as the team tries to sort out it's bottom six. On defense, Mike Vernace, Matt Smaby and Matthieu Roy will all battle for the seventh and eighth defenseman spot on the roster. I'm actually surprised at the defensive cuts knowing that Randy Jones, Smaby and Roy are all battlign injuries right now.
So what are your thoughts on the cuts and what we need to watch for in the final days of the Lightning preseason?