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Lightning Round: Is Cory Conacher returning to Switzerland?

Julien BriseBois shared his thoughts on the first half of the season and Alex Barre-Boulet will represent the Crunch in the AHL All-Star game.

Washington Capitals v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images

This week, the Swiss newspaper Berner Zeitung and site reported that Tampa Bay Lightning and Syracuse Crunch forward Cory Conacher has drawn an interest from Swiss team SC Bern. Per report, SC Bern is looking for two players to fill two spots for import players for next season. Conacher has already met with SC Bern team manager Alex Chatelain during his visit to North America, although Conacher is not expected to make the decision until the end of the year and the Swiss team is negotiating with other potential players.

Conacher has already played for SC Bern during the 2015-16 season. He had 52 (22+30) points in 48 regular season games and 9 (5+4) points in 14 playoff games. With 52 points he finished the season as the fourth top scorer in the National League (NLA).

Cory Conacher is becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer, when his contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning is expiring. His current contract carries a $700,000 AAV. During this season Conacher has 26 (12+14) points in 30 games with the Syracuse Crunch and 1 (0+1) point in 4 games with the Lightning.

If Conacher is signing a deal with the SC Bern, he will join a list of former Lightning players who currently playing in the NLA. Former seventh-round pick in the 2013 NHL draft Jöel Vermin presently plays for Lausanne HC. This Swiss/Dutch forward played in just 24 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning and mostly spent his time in North America playing for the Syracuse Crunch. During his stay in the AHL he scored 87 (35+52) in 164 regular season games and 12 (9+3) points in 25 playoff games. In 2018 Vermin also earned a silver medal with team Switzerland on the World Championship.

The third-round pick in the 2012 NHL draft Tanner Richard is playing for Genève-Servette HC during this season. Like Vermin, he played for the most part for the Crunch and 146 (40+106) points in 261 games and 1 (1+0) point in two playoff game. Another player is Marc-Antoine Pouliot who spent the 2010-11 season with the Bolts and the Norfolk Admirals from the ECHL, Tampa Bay Lightning’s affiliate at that time. He plays for EHC Biel-Bienne now.

Other Lightning Org News

The Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois shared his thoughts on the first half of the season to the Lightning beat reporter Bryan Burns and reporter/radio color commentator Caley Chelios. Some interesting things from his interview:

“I think as much as last season our record outperformed our play, this year it’s kind of the opposite where our record has lagged behind our play on the ice,” BriseBois said from a conference room across from his office on the bottom floor of AMALIE Arena. “But if we keep playing the way we’ve been playing, that should correct itself and it will bode well for the second half of the season and we’ll end up in the spring time where we want to be being one of the eight teams in the East participating in the playoffs.

I think Sergachev’s been our most improved player, especially over the last month here, he’s really stepped up his game. Surprised? I don’t know, a lot of players have played really well. I don’t know that there are any huge surprises. The obvious one, I think Ondrej Palat, having a healthy summer, he’s come back a better player right now than he was last year. Alex Killorn is more invested in the team’s success and I think he’s taken more ownership for the team’s success and that emotion has carried into games and that’s carried into his play. Tony Cirelli keeps getting better.

Alex Killorn has been named a Lightning player of the month for December. He had 17 (9+8) points in 13 games during that month.

Alex Barre-Boulet has been selected to the 2020 AHL All-Star game. Last season he shared with Carter Verhaeghe the Willie Marshall Award as the AHL’s leading top scorer with 34 goals.

The Syracuse Crunch earned a big win over the Toronto Marlies on a Friday’s night. Thirteen players recorded a point in a 8-2 win.

Other Hockey News

Former Dallas Starts head coach Jim Montgomery released a statement regarding his firing. He’s currently going into rehab for alcohol abuse. Montgomery was fired on December 10, 2019.

The Montreal Canadiens signed Russian forward Ilya Kovalchuk on a one-year, two-way deal worth $700,000 per year. The Habs lost a several players including Jonathan Drouin and Brandan Gallagher to injuries and this low-risk deal seems like a logic decision, even at his current condition Russian veteran can provide a big impact on power play.