Roughly 24 hours after saying goodbye to fan favorite and former Crunch captain Mike Angelidis, the Tampa Bay Lightning wasted little time adding new faces and ushering in a new era in Syracuse Crunch history. Let's take a look at the new look Crunch:
The addition of 25 year old Gabriel Dumont from the St. John’s IceCaps may have been the biggest "get" of the day. Dumont will be entering his sixth full professional season when the puck drops in October and is coming off of his best statistical year to date (19G,30A). The 2009 fifth round pick of the Montreal Canadiens has been a fairly consistent offensive contributor at the AHL level and will look to bring some of the same energy and offensive savvy that former Crunchers Jeff Tambellini and Mike Blunden did. Dumont had been the captain of the Hamilton Bulldogs and IceCaps for several seasons before testing free agency and signing with Syracuse. He is a heart and soul guy that will compete for a full 60 minutes a night. Who knows, Gabriel Dumont could be wearing the "C" for the Crunch when play begins in the fall.
Auburn, New York native Jeremy Morin will be calling Syracuse his team for the second time in his career. This time however, the front of the jersey will read "Crunch" instead of "Stars". The 25 year old winger was inked by the Tampa Bay Lightning Friday afternoon and will look to revitalize his career after a dismal last few seasons. The one-time 30 goal scorer in 2012 with the Rockford Icehogs has all of the tools to be an elite sniper at the AHL level. At 6-foot-1 and pushing almost 200 pounds, Morin is a guy who isn’t afraid to park himself in the blue paint and score the ugly goals. Along with his offensive upside comes a fair amount of experience having skated in 89 career NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets. Jeremy Morin has the potential to a real impact player for the Crunch in 2016-2017.
The new Cruncher I am least familiar with is 24 year old left wing Michael Bournival. Drafted in the third round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Colorado Avalanche, Bournival had spent his entire professional career to this point with the Montreal Canadiens organization. The Quebec native notched one goal and had 8 assists in 20 games with the IceCaps last season after coming off of a long term injury. Bournival is another of the additions that brings with him a bucket load of experience at the next level, having skated in 89 games with the Habs, including 14 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
In the most shocking move of the day, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announced that the Bolts had inked 6-foot-2, 210 pound Pierre Leblond (or PL3) to a one-year, two-way contract. PL3 is purely an enforcer and, honestly, the last of a dying breed in North American professional hockey. The former AHL Man Of The Year candidate brings with him an outgoing personality, a blue-collar style of hockey, and one scary right hand. After icing a fairly small Crunch squad last season, maybe Tampa Bay feels they need more grit in the lineup? No matter what the reasoning, it’s almost a guarantee that by the end of next season, PL3 will be a fan favorite in Syracuse.
Overall, I am pleased so far with the work done by the Tampa brass yesterday afternoon. Now we wait to see what happens next. Don’t forget, we are still waiting on a certain goaltender to re-sign.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below and don't be afraid to contact me on Twitter @Crunchsyracuse