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Tampa Bay Lightning loans Chris DiDomenico to the Syracuse Crunch for conditioning

Although conditioning stints are usually used when a player is recovering from an injury or hasn’t played in a while, they can be used under a broader umbrella.

Montreal Canadiens v Ottawa Senators Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images

According to AHL transactions, newly acquired Tampa Bay Lightning forward Chris DiDomenico has been loaned to the Syracuse Crunch for a conditioning stint.

Conditioning assignments do not need waivers and are only for a short period of time. Many fans are used to AHL conditioning stints occurring when a player has been injured and is ready to come back and needs to get into game day shape. Conditioning stints have also been utilized when an NHL’er has been healthy scratched for a longer period of time than normal and the parent club wants to give that player ice time. However, they have also been used by other teams, such as the Nashville Predators, when players just seem to need a boost in their ice time and their confidence.

When he was with On the Forecheck, Dirk Hoag wrote an article in March of 2013 explaining this kind of assignment. At that time, the Preds had utilized conditioning stints a few times when players who had been low on ice time needed a boost. The CBA hasn’t changed since that article was written when it comes to how conditioning loans can be used:

13.8 Conditioning Loan. Unless a Player consents, he shall not be Loaned on a Conditioning Loan to a minor league club. Such Conditioning Loan shall not extend for more than fourteen (14) consecutive days. The Commissioner may take whatever steps he deems necessary to investigate the circumstances under which a Player is Loaned on a Conditioning Loan. If the Commissioner has reason to believe or determines that the Club has used the Conditioning Loan to evade the Re-Entry Waivers, or otherwise Circumvent any provision of this Agreement, he may take such disciplinary action against the Club, as he deems appropriate. The Player shall continue, during the period of such Conditioning Loan, to receive the same Paragraph 1 NHL Salary, and be entitled to the same benefits, that he would have received had he continued to play with the Club.

So, it appears that the Lightning is taking a similar interpretation. As Hoag explained,

The key points here are obviously the fact that a player must consent to being sent down - it's understood that this is a temporary measure, and that his pay will not be affected. As long as those conditions are met, it makes sense for such a loan to be available, and help the team out by not having to expose these players to waivers.

They aren't trying to stash a guy in the minors and stockpile talent, while preventing that individual from getting his shot in the NHL (that's why the waiver system exists in the first place, to allow such players a chance to catch on with another NHL team if they're not wanted). It's just a short-term exercise to get a guy's game going, and if he doesn't want to go along, that's his right.

As Geo wrote for Raw Charge yesterday, DiDomenico started the 2017-18 season with AHL Belleville. He played in four games and amassed five points before being called up to the NHL. In 12 games with the Ottawa Senators this season, DiDomenico has scored three goals and has six points. His last game was this past Sunday, against the New York Rangers.

The Crunch with a 6-9-1-2 record is in desperate need of some help. Although they’re impressively holding their own - their current 2-game winning streak is their longest so far this season - Syracuse is down to 10 healthy forwards. Last night against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Syracuse dressed 8 defensemen and had Daniel Walcott play as a forward.

Syracuse is in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton again tonight.