In the midst of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s sudden goalie switch-a-roo on Monday, a minor league depth signing went kind of unnoticed. Fairly early in the day, a report came out that the Lightning had signed minor league netminder Scott Wedgewood.
Goalie Scott Wedgewood has signed with the Lightning, per sources. Played for AHL Rochester last season.— John Matisz (@MatiszJohn) July 1, 2019
Late in the afternoon, Lightning general manager Julian BriseBois commented on the Wedgewood signing during a media conference call, and specifically said Wedgewood was going to be taking over for Eddie Pasquale in Syracuse. Although this signing hasn’t officially been announced by the team yet, that certainly seemed like confirmation.
Lightning GM Julien BriseBois sees Scott Wedgewood taking the empty spot left by Eddie Pasquale’s departure. Also mentioned how if an emergency arises at the NHL level, Wedgewood can come up for spot duty (24 games in the NHL). Also believes Wedgewood can develop more in SYR/TB.— Matthew Esteves (@mattestevesSBN) July 1, 2019
Wedgewood spent last season in the Buffalo Sabres organization, sharing the crease in Rochester with former Lightning prospect Adam Wilcox. At the end of the season, his GAA made him the 20th best goalie in the league, while his five shutouts were the second-highest in the league among qualified goalies.
So, assuming the Scott Wedgewood signing will become official, 26-year-old has 24 games of NHL experience, former third round pick of New Jersey in 2010, went 28-16-1 with Rochester last season, 2.68 GAA and 5 shutouts.— Lightning Insider (@Erik_Erlendsson) July 1, 2019
He'll be earmarked No. 1 in Syracuse
Wedgewood seems to be the crowning signing for Syracuse on the first day of free agency. He was ranked pretty high on a few insider lists for AHL free agency. Blogger Jason Iacona, who puts together a Big Board every year of the top 100 AHL free agents, had Wedgewood at 14 out of 100, mostly due to the way the goalie “thrived” with the Amerks. Inside AHL Hockey put together a top-10 list for every position, and had Wedgewood listed first among all goalie free agents:
While Alex Nedeljkovic (Charlotte) and Shane Starrett (Bakersfield) stole the spotlight in terms of attention with their stellar seasons, Wedgewood was one of the top goalies in the AHL in the regular season in 2018-19. The seven-year pro is a textbook organizational number three goaltender that can be an NHL backup or help steer a young goalie in the AHL.
Injury issues and playing in three NHL organizations in 2017-18 had sidetracked Wedgewood’s career. Once a promising prospect in the New Jersey Devils organization, he bounced back this season with a solid season in Rochester. He also put in his heaviest workload since his rookie season in 2012-13, a continued good response after having shoulder surgery in 2016-17. At this stage of his career, he is at least a higher-end AHL number-one netminder and should be in demand.
As long as those injury issues don’t plague him this season, it seems like Wedgewood should be a solid addition to Syracuse’s roster. He appears to be exactly what the club was in need of after the departure of Pasquale: a calm vet that can carry minutes until his partner, whomever that will be, is ready.
Speaking of, the Crunch is still technically in need of a second netminder, too. There are some rumblings lately pointing to rookie Atte Tolvanen, who played in six games with Syracuse last season. The biggest indication of potential news on the horizon of a signing Tolvanen is that that he’s apparently getting a Lightning/Crunch mask made:
Tolvanen went 3-3 in those six games with a 2.32 GAA and a 0.928 SV%.
The organization may also soon have news of who their #5 is going to be. Clint Windsor was a reserve goalie for the Orlando Solar Bears last season, and is already signed to play for that club this fall. He recently was invited to the Lightning’s prospect camp last week, so it’s fairly easy to assume that the Lightning might be looking at him as a potential fifth.
“Anything that I can learn from here to bring back to Orlando is something that I’ll use in my toolbox. The staff here have been great, and I’ve learned a lot already.”— Orlando Solar Bears (@OrlandoHockey) June 28, 2019
Clint Windsor is relishing his time in @TBLightning Development Camp.
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