The Tampa Bay Lightning have assigned Cory Conacher to the Syracuse Crunch. This was a move made so that the Lightning are cap compliant and can set their roster by the NHL’s deadline. Conacher is waiver eligible, so other teams have until noon Tuesday to put in a claim.
Conacher played in four preseason games with the Lightning this season, recording two assists. He had a plus-1 rating. In 2016-17, he appeared in 11 games with Tampa Bay, notching a goal and four points. Conacher has played in 152 career NHL games with Tampa Bay, New York Islanders, Ottawa and Buffalo, recording 20 goals and 62 points.
Conacher was big part of Syracuse’s success last season as part of their veteran core. He played in 56 games for the Crunch in 2016-17, scoring 17 goals. He ended the season ranked eighth in the AHL for assists with 43, and eighth for points with 60. He was tied for the Syracuse lead in points, and he was second in assists and third in goals. He was named to the AHL-All Star team as a late addition.
Conacher played in 22 Calder Cup Playoff games with the Crunch, leading the team with 12 goals and 28 points. He was a leader on the ice and in the dressing room for the entirety of the Crunch’s extended season. Should he make it back to Syracuse, it’s absolutely expected that he will assume that role again.
Adding a homey note to all of this was the news that the Crunch signed Conacher’s brother, Shane, to an AHL contract Monday afternoon. There’s a slight sticky situation to all of this, though. Conacher had previously stated that he would rather not return to the AHL. If he isn’t claimed by another club, there is a chance that he makes the decision to return to Europe to play instead:
If it's not working out here with any type of contract here, then the first look will be going back to Switzerland, for sure...I expressed to them (Tampa) that I want to play in the NHL. If their plan is to bring me back to play in Syracuse, as much as I had a great time down here, the fans were awesome, I'm 27, almost 28. I want to get one more shot in the NHL. And I think I have the ability to play there. If they see me fit in Tampa, I think they'll give me a deal that I'm willing to take. So I'm excited. Hopefully, I can make that next jump back up to the NHL.
With the assignment of Conacher, the Crunch made a corresponding move and loaned forward Ty Loney to the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL. Loney, 25, skated in one preseason game for the Crunch.