On Sunday, the Tampa Bay Lightning announced that Nic Riopel had been assigned to Adirondack of the ECHL, officially beginning their unofficial partnership with the Glens Falls, NY-based team. Riopel spent most of last season with the Kalamazoo Wings, posting a 3.13 GAA and .899 Save Percentage in 32 appearances for the K-Wings. He was especially strong for the team after he returned from a call-up to the Syracuse Crunch in January.
Riopel re-signed a one-year deal with the Crunch in July and provides the organization with depth should something happen to Connor Ingram or Michael Leighton in Syracuse. Riopel will be a familiar name to hockey fans in the Glens Falls area as he appeared in 21 games for the Adirondack Phantoms, an AHL franchise, over the course of two seasons from 2009-2011.
While Riopel spent the entire training camp with the Lightning he did not appear in a preseason game. That did not prevent him from thanking the organization on social media.
Thank you to the @TBLightning organization for these last 3 weeks. An amazing experience that I will always remember! #NHL #FirstClass ⚪️ ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/Hv8BOWjL5K— Nick Riopel (@Riopel_N) October 1, 2017
Riopel will be fighting for playing time in Adirondack. Last season J.P. Anderson and Mason McDonald split most of the time between the pipes for the Thunder. McDonald, who was drafted by the Calgary Flames, looks to start the season in the AHL with the Stockton Heat.
Below is the official press release from the Lightning:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 1, 2017
LIGHTNING ASSIGN GOALTENDER NICOLA RIOPEL TO ADIRONDACK TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have assigned goaltender Nicola Riopel to the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today. Riopel, 6-foot, 185 pounds, dressed in one preseason game with the Lightning, September 19 versus Carolina, backing up Michael Leighton. He played in 32 games with Kalamazoo of the ECHL last season, posting an 18- 12-1 record with a .899 save percentage and a 3.13 goals-against average.
~BE THE THUNDER~