This evening, the Tampa Bay Lightning announced the recall of forwards Mike Blunden and Jonathan Marchessault from the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled forwards Mike Blunden and Jonathan Marchessault from the Syracuse Crunch today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Blunden, 28, has skated in 12 games with the Crunch this season, posting three goals and five points to go along with 10 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-4, 217-pound forward ranks tied for fourth on Syracuse for goals and is tied for seventh for points. He has played in 422 career AHL games over his 11-year pro career, recording 99 goals and 214 points.
The Toronto, Ontario, native has appeared in 104 career NHL games, including two with the Lightning last season. Blunden registered two penalty minutes and seven hits in a pair of Lightning games in 2014-15. Blunden set career-highs for games played (40), goals (two), assists (two) and points (four) during the 2009-10 season while with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Marchessault, 24, has skated in 11 games with Syracuse this season, recording six goals and nine points to go along with six penalty minutes. He ranks first on the Crunch for goals and is third for points. Marchessault has notched a pair of two-goal games this season in the AHL.
The Cap-Rouge, Quebec, native has appeared in two games with the Lightning this season, recording one shot on goal. Marchessault played in two Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Lightning last season. He also appeared in two games with the Bolts during the 2014-15 regular season, recording one goal. Marchessault scored his first career NHL goal on April 11, 2015 in the Lightning’s regular season finale against the Boston Bruins. The 5-foot-9, 174-pound forward skated in four preseason games with the Lightning in 2015, recording one assist.
During last night's game, it appeared that both Tyler Johnson and Cedric Paquette had gotten nicked up at different times during the game. Jonathan Drouin also appears to still be recovering from the injury that kept him out five games or possibly having picked up another injury. With Drouin, it should be noted that he was scheduled to be the player guest on The Last Call, a post-game radio show hosted by Matt Sammon and Brian Engblom, after Tuesday and Thursday's games this past week. However, both games he missed the appearance because he was getting treatment after the game.
The Lightning were down to only 12 forwards and 21 players overall on the roster after Ondrej Palat was placed on injured reserve. This move is likely a precaution in case two or more forwards are unable to go next game against the Florida Panthers on Monday night in Sunrise.
Blunden is the more experienced of the two wingers with his 104 NHL games, but is best suited for playing on the fourth line as a checker. He is responsible, as well as being a solid veteran presence, and can be trusted with playing 10-12 minutes on the fourth line. He won't be expected to provide offensive output like he has given in the AHL.
Marchessault is still a younger player that hasn't gotten many chances to play in the NHL. He has a good shot and better offensive skills than Blunden, though he tops out as a third line winger at best. He more likely will be in the same spot as Blunden, getting 10-12 minutes in a fourth line role.
We could see one or both headed back to Syracuse within the next week as long as the believed injured forwards are able to come back full strength sooner rather than later. Syracuse has been playing better of late, but they don't have the offensive depth to continue to do well without two of their best offensive players. Hopefully, this will be a short term recall for both players.