While the Tampa Bay Lightning’s training camp has been going on for a bit now, the Syracuse Crunch has yet to get started. Up until today, there weren’t even any players assigned to the Lightning’s top AHL affiliate, but that’s all changed with the assignment of six players. Two more cut today will also be joining the Crunch thanks to their AHL deals.
The Lightning assigned forwards Alex Gallant and Carter Verhaeghe, defensemen Mat Bodie and Matt Spencer, and goaltenders Connor Ingram and Michael Leighton to the Crunch. They also released forward Kevin Lynch and defenseman Reid McNeil. Both of those players are on AHL deals with Syracuse, so they will now be on the Crunch’s training camp roster. Because they are not under contract with the Lightning, Tampa couldn’t assign them to the Crunch like they could with the others.
Otto Somppi was also released by the Lightning and assigned to Halifax of the QMJHL. Somppi is 19, so he is not yet old enough to play for the Crunch.
The final note from the cuts is that Shane Conacher, brother of current organizational forward Cory Conacher, has also been released from his invitation to the camp. S. Conacher survived the first two rounds of the cuts the Lightning made and has now been invited to the Crunch’s camp next week:
Syracuse lost a bit of depth when the Lightning cut ties recently with Cam Darcy and Brian Hart, so it’s very possible that S. Conacher gets signed to an AHL deal with the Crunch to rebuild some of that.
Syracuse gets their camp going on Tuesday, September 26th. Players will have their first on-ice practice at the Onondaga County War Memorial from 4:00 to 5:00 that evening, giving players enough time to get into town and do what needs to happen before they hit the ice. The rest of the Crunch’s on-ice training camp schedule is:
Wednesday, Sept. 27, 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Thursday, Sept. 28, 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Friday, Sept. 30, 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
All dates are subject to change, but, as always, all practices at the Onondaga County War Memorial are free open to the public.
After their week of practices, the Crunch will play two preseason games next weekend. The games are a home-and-home series vs. the Utica Comets. The Crunch has a rather large in-state and divisional rivalry with Utica, so new players on the roster will get their first early look at an opponent they will see 12 times during the regular season.
The first game is Saturday, September 30th at 5:00 PM. It will take place at Kennedy Arena in Rome, NY, as the Comets’ arena is undergoing renovations that will not be completed by next weekend. The second game will be Sunday, October 1st at 5:00. It will be at the Crunch’s home arena.
Tickets for Syracuse’s preseason game are $5. Season ticket holders get one complimentary ticket to the Crunch’s home pre-season game. Those tickets should be coming in the mail soon.
The Crunch’s regular season gets started on October 6th.