The Tampa Bay Lightning today have assigned forward Danick Martel to the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL on a conditioning loan. The Lightning can have him there for up to 14 days before bringing him back to Tampa or placing him on waivers. Martel has yet to appear for the Lightning in a regular season game and it has been about three weeks since he has played in a game. In the next 14 days, the Syracuse Crunch have four games on the schedule.
The Lightning could be trying to get Martel into game shape to let him play some games in the next few weeks for the Lightning. Or, they could just be trying to get the most out of him before placing him on waivers. Because he was claimed off of waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers during training camp, there are some intricacies involved with placing him on waivers again.
If the Philadelphia Flyers are the only team to claim Martel on waivers, they would then have the option to send him to the AHL within 30 days or 10 games played in the NHL without requiring waivers again. If a team with a higher priority claims Martel (which seems unlikely), then that team would acquire him. If the Flyers and a team with lower priority claims Martel, then the Flyers would have to keep him on their NHL roster or place him on waivers again in an attempt to send him to the AHL.
I say it seems unlikely another team would claim him as the Lightning were pretty low on the priority list and that indicates that almost every other team in the NHL passed on claiming him. The other option would be to complete a trade with the Flyers to retain the services of Martel, perhaps after he clears through waivers again. Then he could be assigned to the AHL by the Lightning.
The Lightning also placed Cory Conacher on waivers yesterday and immediately signed him to a one-year contract extension. The belief at the time was that Conacher was the player being eventually cut from the NHL squad to make room for Ryan Callahan when he is ready to return. Head coach Jon Cooper indicated yesterday Callahan could return on this upcoming road trip.
Now, the question is whether the Lightning will actually waive Martel after his conditioning stint and continue to hang on to Conacher in Tampa, assuming that he clears waivers today. We’ll know more on Conacher’s situation at noon Eastern time.