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Quick Strikes: The Lightning recall Connor Ingram and the latest Nylander rumors

News and notes from around the NHL

Scott Thomas Photography

The Bolts

Yesterday afternoon, the Tampa Bay Lightning announced that they recalled goaltender Connor Ingram from the Syracuse Crunch. They also sent Eddie Pasquale, who had been Louis Domingue’s backup over the last couple weeks, back to the Crunch.

The goal of the move is likely to get Pasquale some playing time. He’s been on the bench since being called up to the NHL and is expected to get little if any time while Domingue fills in for Vasilevskiy. The swap allows Pasquale to get a game or two in Syracuse and Ingram to get a couple games off. He’s been great lately but the team wanted him to be in a time share with Pasquale this seasons not playing every game as he has been recently.

If the Lightning want to increase their depth at goalie, Calvin Pickard is on waivers. He has lots of NHL experience and could pick up a couple of games if needed. Geo wrote about that possibility yesterday but ultimately concluded the Lightning are probably more likely to just ride with Domingue until Vasilevskiy is able to return. The decision to recall Ingram supports that line of thought.

In my opinion, it’s not really worth it. There are some pros and cons to doing it, but I don’t feel the pros outweigh the cons. I think it’s better to keep Pasquale in as the back-up. It’s also my opinion that it’s the way the team will go. They re-signed Pasquale over the summer after acquiring him last year to help the Syracuse Crunch. They obviously felt comfortable at the time with the thought that we could end up in this position where he was the backup to either Vasilevskiy or Domingue in the event of an injury.

Brayden Point is shooting over 27%, which is not sustainable. He’ll come back to Earth. But are any other Lightning players over or under performing in terms of shooting percentage this season?

We’ve seen a much different Johnson on the ice from what we’ve seen the past few seasons. Injuries have definitely hampered him, but during training camp he also talked about how he had changed his strength and conditioning and perhaps put on too much muscle. He went back to focusing on his speed which is what got him to the NHL. His 20.8% shooting percentage is unlikely to continue since his career high in a full season is 14.6%. His two shots on goal per game is also half of what he has had through his career. His goal production would still trend upward if he got back to his nearly four shots on goal per game historical production even with his shooting percentage coming back down towards his norms.

The Prospects

In addition to the goalie switch, we got some injury updates from the Crunch.

Mitchell Stephens and Gabe Dumont are the big names here. Stephens was a key player last year and would probably slot into the top six immediately upon his return. Dumont is having a rough year with injuries. He finds himself hurt again after just recently returning from a previous injury. He’s a leader and one of the best veteran players on the team. They need him in the lineup so hopefully, this one isn’t a long term thing.

Connor Ingram has a great personality. He’s shown that in the various videos he’s participated in with the Crunch this year. He sat down for an interview with Syracuse.com to discuss that side of himself as well as some hockey stuff.

The Game

The Flyers announced two more firings yesterday following the firing of Ron Hextall earlier this week.

With Hextall gone, Steve Yzerman’s name is floating into discussions as to who Philly might target as a replacement. This is going to happen every time a GM job opens. His success here in Tampa will make him a target and every team with an opening would be smart to contact him.

But let’s be realistic. He’s not going to Philly. It doesn’t fit with his desire to be near his family. The Flyers seem focused on trading future assets to try to improve immediately and that doesn’t match Yzerman’s MO. It sounds like Paul Holmgren wants a puppet to install in the front office who will execute his vision and Stevie Y isn’t that person.

Nick Backstrom moved into second place all time in scoring for the Washington Capitals. That’s one spot behind Alex Ovechkin. That’s how it should be and it isn’t likely to change for a long time.

One way to think of this is that we still have years to watch and appreciate the artistry and exploits of Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin. And, it is only after the body of work of Backstrom and Ovechkin has been completed that we will be able to look back and appreciate them for their considerable level of achievement.

In the here and now, however, we should realize that what we are seeing from these uniquely gifted individuals – now together at the top of the all-time points list – we are never likely to see again in a Washington Capitals sweater.

We’ll wrap up today with some Leafs news. Auston Matthews returned to the lineup last night and scored two goals. Ho-hum.

The Leafs have been winning games without him but will be even better with him healthy and back to playing. The Lightning play the Leafs next in a couple of weeks.

By then, we’ll know the resolution of the William Nylander saga. In fact, we’ll know by Saturday at latest. As of now, he still hasn’t re-signed and it’s getting late. Real late.

Elliotte Friedman threw some fuel on the fire last night speculating that even if the Leafs beat the deadline and get a deal done, Nylander’s days in Toronto are numbered.

At this point, I don’t believe anyone knows what’s happening and I’m here purely for the entertainment. Leafs fans predictably melted down after Friedman’s spot. Everyone else predictably made jokes. A grand time was had by all.

I’m looking forward to the next three days as this situation spirals to its conclusion. After all, it’s not going to be nearly as fun when we face the prospect of this happening with Brayden Point next fall.