The Tampa Bay Lightning placed forward Gabriel Dumont on waivers this afternoon presumably with the intention of sending him back to the Syracuse Crunch. For the Crunch, this would add another veteran player with a history of AHL success, and for the Lightning, it likely makes room for the return of Cedric Paquette.
Dumont has played sparingly for the Lightning this season, drawing into the lineup just seven times in their twenty games. J.T. Brown seems to have clearly established himself as the eleventh forward and take over Dumont’s role of playing in between Chris Kunitz and Ryan Callahan on the fourth line.
In his seven games, Dumont averaged less than ten minutes per game and did not register a point. He did have positive impacts on the team’s shot share and expected goal share. So while he didn’t contribute much to the score line, he was still a positive impact player in his limited opportunities.
His return to Syracuse will be welcomed by the fans there. The team has struggled this season due to to poor defense and goaltending. After trading Tye McGinn for Louis Domingue, the Crunch were short an experienced forward and Dumont will likely slide right into that role. While only 25 years old, he was an important part of the Crunch playoff run last season and that experience should be helpful to a roster full of young players with several first year pros.
For the Lightning, this means Paquette is probably returning from his injury. He has played just six games this season due to that injury, and his return would make Dumont duplicative on the roster. Paquette will likely be in the same role as Dumont competing with Brown for ice time. As a natural center and a player the coaching staff likes in a checking role, Paquette might have an edge on Brown for playing time so it will be interesting to see who plays between Kunitz and Callahan in the next game.
Paquette’s return also opens the door to returning to a twelve forward six defender lineup. He would obviously be a fit centering the fourth line and that would allow Brown to slot in as the right wing on the third line with Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn. That line has performed well in limited minutes so it would be interesting to see them get more time together.
If the Lightning are looking to add someone from Syracuse, the most likely candidates seem to be Adam Erne and Matt Peca. Both had a chance to make the team during camp but neither solidified their spot according to the coaching staff. Peca in particular was a standout and many including me were surprised that he didn’t start the year in Tampa.
So far this season, neither has been particularly outstanding in Syracuse. Erne has seven points in sixteen games and Peca has five. If the coaching staff wanted to see one or the other start the season strong and earn the callup, that hasn’t happened. So more than likely, this move is about Paquette being healthy and not an addition from Syracuse.
Look for Dumont to be assigned to Syracuse officially around 12 PM tomorrow after he clears waiver.