The Tampa Bay Lightning today announced the re-signing of defenseman/forward Daniel Walcott. The deal is a one-year, two-way contract. A two-way contract means that he will have different salaries based on if he is playing in the NHL or the AHL. In 62 games for the Syracuse Crunch last season, Walcott picked up five goals, 11 assists, and 16 points and wore an A as an Alternate Captain for parts of the season.
A fifth round pick in 2014 of the New York Rangers, Walcott was picked up by the Lightning just prior to his rights expiring in 2015 for a seventh round pick. He has had an interesting professional career with the Crunch.
He entered the league as a defenseman with some offensive upside after putting up 80 points in 121 games over two seasons in the QMJHL. But he has moved around also playing a fourth line forward role at times. He’s listed at 5’11” and 174 pounds, and hits harder than you would think a player his size would.
If he is to make it to the NHL, in my opinion, he’s more likely to do so as an energy winger on the fourth line rather than as a defenseman. His defensive liabilities are not made up for with enough offensive firepower to see him making it even as a third pairing defenseman.
With Captain Erik Condra being an unrestricted free agent, Walcott should also be a candidate for taking over the Captain’s C for the Syracuse Crunch next season. He served as Captain of his QMJHL team, the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in just his second season with that team. However, at 24 years old, he is still a bit on the young side for a captaincy. While we don’t get to see what happens behind the scenes and in the locker room, I think there has been enough signs to show that he is at least in the running to take over.
Walcott is a key part of the Crunch roster so his re-signing will be welcomed in Syracuse. Players who can fill depth roles in multiple positions are extra valuable in the AHL where the NHL parent club can sometimes put the AHL club in difficult roster situations. Walcott’s ability to play anywhere gives the Crunch extra coverage for injuries in either Syracuse or Tampa.
This is the first of several moves that the Lightning will need to make this summer to solidify their organizational depth so don’t be surprised if we hear of similar signings or re-signings in the near future.