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Lightning demote Vladislav Namestnikov to the AHL

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Surprising news, but not entirely shocking: The Tampa Bay Lightning have reduced their roster from 23 players to 22 by way of demoting 2011 1st round draft pick Vladislav Namestnikov to Syracuse of the AHL. Vladdy had played 24 games with the Lightning this season, scoring 3 goals and 4 assists in his time with the club and is a plus-3.

Namestnikov had been playing mostly on the third line with an ever evolving cast of linemates which included Jonathan Drouin, Alex Killorn, Valtteri Filppula and Cedric Paquette.  Filppula playing on the left wing instead of center may have been a factor in Steve Yzerman deciding to demote one of his forwards (who don't require waivers), yet Cedric Paquette is a natural center and has been playing mostly on the wing during since his promotion to Tampa Bay.

It was injuries, in part, that enabled Vladdy to stay in Tampa Bay after training camp and stay in Tampa Bay p to this point.  Those injuries included Jonathan Drouin, Ryan Callahan, Brett Connolly, Victor Hedman and Radko Gudas among others.

This is the second player the Lightning have shed this week, having traded defenseman Eric Brewer to the Anaheim Ducks this past weekend in order to create roster space for the return of Victor Hedman to the lineup. Chad Schnarr of Bolt Prospects is speculating on Twitter that this is a sign Drouin will not be lent to Team Canada for the World Junior Championships, which has been discussed recently.