The Tampa Bay Lightning have made their first round of cuts to their training camp squad. The most notable of the absentees is 2018 second-round pick Gabriel Fortier, who is heading back to Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the QMJHL, as expected.
Fortier has impressed the Lightning so far in camp, but it was best for his development go to back to his regular season squad after one preseason game, no matter how good it was.
The Bolts also sent home 2018 seventh-round pick Radim Salda, a defenseman, back to the Rimouski Océanic of the QMJHL for his second season in North America.
The regular season for the WHL, OHL, and QMJHL starts as early as today for some teams, with most playing tomorrow.
Here is a complete list of cuts (position name (age) - status - 2018-19 team):
LW Gabriel Fortier (18) - 58th overall 2018 - Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)
LW Jackson Leppard (18) - Camp Invitee - Prince George (WHL)
LW Mathew MacDougall (18) - Camp Invitee - Windsor (OHL)
C/LW Chase Wouters (18) - Camp Invitee - Saskatoon (WHL)
LD Radim Salda (19) - 206th overall 2018 - Saint John (QMJHL)
RD Walter Flower (19) - Camp Invitee - Halifax (QMJHL)
RD Montana Onyebuchi (18) - Camp Invitee - Everett (WHL)
None of the six goaltenders (Andrei Vasilevskiy, Louis Domingue, Connor Ingram, Eddie Pasquale, Martin Oullette, Corbin Boes) were cut from the roster.
NHL teams tend to bring in players they were close to drafting as camp invitees and keep an eye on them to see if they improve during the year enough to warrant spending a draft pick or AHL contract on them at the end of the year. Who knows, we may be talking about any of these five players in the coming years.