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Lightning Round: Solar Bears goalie Garret Sparks has signed a PTO with the Flames

Hugo Alnefelt recorded a shutout at the WJC.

A Week With The Orlando Solar Bears Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

As the Orlando Solar Bears announced yesterday, their goaltender Garret Sparks signed a professional tryout with the Calgary Flames and is heading to their training camp. Sparks previously signed an ECHL Standard Player Contract for the 2020-21 season before the start of the new season in December and played just one game for the Solar Bears, recording an overtime win against the Wheeling Nailers on December 19.

The 27-year old goaltender, originally drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the seventh round of the 2011 NHL Draft, had already played for the Orlando Solar Bears before: in 2013-16 seasons he appeared in 47 regular season and six playoff games, although the Solar Bears were the Maple Leafs’ affiliate during that span. Since that time Sparks debuted in the NHL, however his NHL experience hasn’t been successful: in 38 regular season games he recorded a dreadful 3.10 GAA and .897 save percentage, spending most of his time in the AHL.

After Sparks’ departure, the Solar Bears activated goaltender Michael Lackey from injury reserve, who hasn’t yet played for them before.

Currently the Tampa Bay Lightning have four goaltenders under contract this season: besides Andrei Vasilevskiy and Curtis McElhinney, it’s Christopher Gibson and Spencer Martin. Martin played in 33 regular season games for the Syracuse Crunch last season and signed a one-year extension with the Lightning this autumn. Christopher Gibson was acquired as a free-agent this October. The Lightning have also rights for goaltender Anders Nilsson who was traded from the Ottawa Senators alongside with Marian Gaborik in exchange for Cedric Paquette and Braydon Coburn, however, as stated before, both players will be placed on LTIR and won’t play for the Lightning this season.

Andrei Vasilevskiy is expected to play the majority of the upcoming regular season as usual, although given that the Lightning have six back-to-back games, Curtis McElhinney will definitely see some action this season.

Lightning Links

Hugo Alnefelt recorded his first shutout at the 2021 World Juniors Championship, making just six saves during the game against Austria.

Geo insists that the Lightning isn’t done dealing this offseason and is even proposing trading Blake Coleman [Raw Charge]

That obviously presents an issue since it would mean that if there was an injury, the Lightning would be unable to add a player to the roster. The Lightning could fill up as much of that $1,157,334 difference between the LTIR Cap Hits and the amount they are over the cap by adding a player like Cal Foote and his $925,000 cap hit. That would at least give the Lightning an extra defenseman, but leaves them with just 12 forwards. If more than one forward was injured, the Lightning would then be in a bit of a jam and unable to add.

Some details about recent Julien BriseBois moves from Pierre LeBrun, however nothing that we do not already know:

The Tampa Bay Lightning publicly said goodbye to Cedric Paquette and Braydon Coburn.

Around Hockey

Henrik Lundqvist announced that he will undergo open heart surgery. As it was announced before, Lundqvist will miss the next season due to heart issues, although given the new details he might never be able to return to hockey.

Corey Perry agreed to a one-year contract, league minimum contract with the Montreal Canadiens

Kirby Dach will miss approximately 4-5 months due to wrist injury he suffered at the exhibition game against Russia at the World Juniors.

The waiver season opened yesterday

Ethan Bear re-signed with the Edmonton Oilers

After a short stint with the Oilers, Andreas Athanasiou signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Kings