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Tampa Bay Lightning reassign Vermin to Syracuse Crunch

With Joel Vermin being sent back to Syracuse, someone looks ready to return to the lineup.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning and General Manager Steve Yzerman have announced that Joel Vermin has been re-assigned to the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL. The announcement means that one of the Lightning’s injured players is likely ready to return to the lineup on Thursday against the Detroit Red Wings.

The “who” is the big question now. Any one of Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, Cedric Paquette and Jason Garrison could be ready to return. Joel Vermin was called up on an emergency basis to help fill in for all of the injured forwards the Lightning had. With an emergency recall, the team is required to send that player back to the minors when the team reaches a certain level of healthy players; 12 for forwards and six for defensemen.

If Jason Garrison is ready to go, that would mean Luke Witkowski is moving back to forward. With any of the three centers, that would be really good news to strengthen the forward lineup. Nikita Kucherov has carried the forward corps on his back since the beginning of the month. Jonathan Drouin has finally started to pick up his pace again over the past week. A healthy Stamkos or Johnson would be a big boost to the offensive punch of the Lightning as they continue to fight and claw their way towards a playoff spot.

If Stamkos or Paquette are ready, they would take Vladislav Namestnikov’s spot on the second line. Namestnikov could then slide down to center the third line with Adam Erne on the left wing and Yanni Gourde on the right wing. That alignment would provide the Lightning with three very solid scoring lines that can do some damage down the stretch.

The Lightning had a scheduled day off today and we’ll have to wait until the team practices tomorrow to see where the Lightning’s injured players stand.