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Lightning reassign Connolly, Johnson to Syracuse Crunch

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The Bolts send two of their top prospects back to their AHL affiliate as the Crunch prepare for the 2013 AHL playoffs.

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

With 24 players on the active Lightning roster and veterans such as Tom Pyatt, Benoit Pouliot and Dana Tyrell sitting while young prospects get a look-see, the Tampa Bay Lightning made a pair of demotions this afternoon, reassigning center Tyler Johnson and right wing Brett Connolly to the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL.

Connolly was minus-3 in five games played with the Lightning, he registered a single goal during that time; he was averaging 10:16 of ice time per game. Johnson played a total of 14 games with the Lightning, scoring 3 goals and 3 assists in that span; he was a plus-3 as well with an average time on ice of 13:04 per game

As much as this appeared to be a move to lighten the load of the big club's roster in Tampa, Johnson and Connolly's return is more than welcomed in Syracuse as they prepare for the 2013 AHL Calder Cup playoffs. The Crunch has struggled since the promotion of Jon Cooper to the NHL. That issue had started earlier in the winter, though, as the Lightning promoted several integral players to the NHL roster (such as Radko Gudas, Richard Panik, Johnson, Ondrej Palat, former Cruncher/Lightning forward Cory Conacher, Connolly, and most recently Mark Barberio).

The Crunch is 4-4-2-0 in their past 10 games, and starts a five game, season ending home stand starting tomorrow.

It should be noted that yesterday Johnson was named to the 2012-13 AHL All-Star first team, while Connolly and Barberio were named to the second team.