Is the Tampa Bay Lightning roster set once the lockout ends?
If the 2012 NHL lockout were to end, as a growing optimistic sentiment suggests, the Lightning may already have its opening-night roster with nary a call-up.
If this was September 2012, it'd be pretty understandable for Tampa Bay Lightning fans and media to speculate on the training camp roster and roster battles to watch during the preseason.
That is, if the collective bargaining agreement's expiration hadn't screwed that up.With the new level of optimism tied to extended talks between the NHL and NHL Players Association that have continued late into the night twice in the last five days, there's the potential for not only a resolution to the 2012 NHL Lockout, but a NHL season... A season that would start around December 1st, and afford teams an abbreviated pre-season camp.
For the Lightning, a pre-season camp likely would be made up of the players likely to make up the opening night roster. The notion of camp battles should pretty much be tossed out the window with thanks to the logistical issues that prevent the Bolts from bringing in current Syracuse Crunch players for a brief assessment before sending them back to upstate New York.
Besides, there are only two questionable forwards on the roster, and from all accounts, it's filled.
First, let me say this isn't the line combinations for sure - it's just to give you the gist Tampa Bay already has four lines of forwards without a single call-up. As for the questionable players on the roster - that would be Tyrell and Wilson. Not to doubt either player's ability, it's more about status.
Kyle Wilson, acquired in the Anders Lindback trade last summer, has mostly bounced between the AHL and NHL in his career, with more time in the AHL... He's a bubble player that could go either way. As for Tyrell, it's all about the fact Dana blew out his (previously repaired) knee last season. That's not an easy injury to overcome, and if coaching and management aren't sure he's fit for duty, they could opt for a current member of the Crunch.
On the defensive front, If you exclude Keith Aulie (who signed a contract with the Crunch to play during the lockout), the Bolts have 7 defensemen on the roster, which pretty much tells you that situation is set:
All of this isn't to say the roster would remain locked down after a 2012-13 season started, keeping the likes of players like Brett Connolly, Cory Conacher, J.T. Wyman and J.T. Brown in Syracuse for the duration. It just means for the sake of stability in both Tampa and Syracuse, the roster for the 2012-13 Lightning is likely set even before the 2012 NHL lockout ends.