The long impending roster reduction to start stocking the Syracuse Crunch has been made by the Tampa Bay Lightning this morning, with a few rubs as a waiver claim has been made at the goaltending position and a few thought-to-be roster reduction players remain with the Lightning.
First off, placed on waivers are forwards Mike Blunden, Tye McGinn, Philippe Paradis, and Jeff Tambelini as well as defenseman Matt Taormina. We'll know if those men clear waivers at noon on Monday.
The non-waived players cut from the roster are forwards David Broll, Cam Darcy, Adam Erne, Yanni Gourde, Brian Hart, Henri Ikonen, Ryan Martindale, Matthew Peca, Tanner Richard and Joel Vermin. Defensemen Dylan Blujus, Anthony DeAngelo, Charlie Dodero, Jake Dotchin, Joey Mormina and Daniel Walcott have also been cut and goalies Adam Wilcox and Allen York. The team has ended its professional tryout for goalie Ray Emery, who played all of last night's loss in Dallas.
All of those guys are heading to the Syracuse Crunch camp (and Lyon, France, one would think). It's not shocking Tony DeAngelo did not make the club - not to knock his play but it's the team mantra of gaining experience over promotion that earns him the trip to the AHL club. Same can be said for first-year pro Matt Peca, who was praised for his play during the preseason by head coach Jon Cooper. What's left in Tampa are 29 players, holdover notables being Brayden Point who remains from the junior-eligible squad, Slater Koekkoek being the big name on defense, and veteran AHL'er Mike Angelidis.
Ending Emery's PTO hasn't ended competition at backup. The Lightning has claimed goaltender Kevin Poulin from the New York Islanders. The 25 year-old has 50 NHL games to his name with the Isles, who drafted him in the 5th round of the 2008 NHL draft. He's 18-25-3 in his NHL career, posting a 3.07 GAA and a .893 save percentage. Poulin's waiver claim puts extra pressure on Kristers Gudlevskis, but also could be seen as potential pressure relief for Andrei Vasilevskiy, who shouldn't try to rush back. A waiver claim means Poulin has to stay with the Lightning, if he's placed on waivers for a demotion the Islanders could bring him back immediately (though the other 28 clubs would still have access to him per usual, the Isles have the right to first refusal). The club prefers to give goalies playing time, and steady AHL playing time for Vasilevskiy would probably aid development more than sparse playing time in the NHL as he rehabs from surgery and his condition that caused the blood clot in his shoulder.
It also causes questions on organizational depth in goal and where Gudlevskis and Wilcox will be playing come December.