With thanks to today being April Fools' Day, there isn't much you can totally put faith in regarding speculation and news reports on all sorts of different subjects (thank you, Internet, for being even less reliable than usual). At the same time, I can safely say the Tampa Bay Lightning made three transactions this afternoon that directly affect the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL.
With Nate Thompson suspended for the next two games for a head shot during the Lightning's game against the New Jersey Devils on Friday, the Bolts recalled center (and Syracuse Crunch team captain) Mike Angelidis while sending down Dana Tyrell.
Angelidis, a minor league veteran, made his NHL debut last season with the Lightning, playing in six games with the Bolts and recording a goal and two assists. This season with the Crunch, Angelidis has played 64 games, notching 10 goals and 11 assists.
It can't be seen as a total positive for Crunch fans to see their team captain called up while the club adjusts to losing their head coach and several key players with thanks to promotions during the season, but Angelidis should not be a long-term recall (unless Lightning coach Jon Cooper wants his personnel to round out the roster).
While the Lightning are responsible for taking away quite a few bright young stars from the Crunch this season, they've mitigated the damage a bit by signing prospects Luke Witkowski and Tanner Richard to both entry-level contracts and amateur-tryout contracts with the Syracuse Crunch. They'll join the Crunch immediately.
Witkowski, a 22-year-old defenseman who was drafted in 2008, recently completed his collegiate career with Western Michigan University. It's notable he was college roommates and defensively paired with Dan Dekeyser (the much sought-after college free agent who signed with the Detroit Red Wings last week).
Tanner Richard, who was selected by the Lightning during the 2012 NHL entry draft, has played for the OHL's Guelph Storm the past two seasons, had 11 goals and 51 assists this season for the Storm.The Crunch can se the offensive spark that Richard can provide.