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Lightning Round: Syracuse Crunch present their team awards for the 2019-20 season

Also updates on the status of the Lightning injured players

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NHL: SEP 22 Preseason - Predators at Lightning Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Yesterday afternoon, the Syracuse Crunch presented their annual team awards for the 2019-20 season. They’re going to unveil one winner every day at 2 p.m. on their social media sites. The first winner of this year’s edition is Alex Barré-Boulet, who has been named the Bryant & Stratton College Smart Player of the Year, which is awarded to the smartest player on the ice. It’s already his third award during his two seasons with the Crunch. After the 2018-19 AHL regular season, he received the same award and added an award for the best rookie of the team.

Earlier this month, Barré-Boulet had been named to the AHL’s Second All-Star team. Justin took a look at his second season with the team [Raw Charge]

After a bit of a slow start to the season he was quickly ascending the points leader board as he finished the season with 12 points in his last 9 games. When the season was halted Barre-Boulet had climbed to the fifth spot in the league with 56 points. It is kind of interesting that he was named to the team as a center since he usually lines up on the wing and doesn’t take very many face-offs. Then again, positions tend to be a bit fluid in Coach Groulx’s system.

Barré-Boulet has joined a list of players who has become the winner in this category twice during their career in Syracuse: Yanni Gourde and Erik Condra. Below you can see a list of winners for each category for 2018-19 team awards:

Bryant & Stratton “Smart Player” of the Year Award - #12 Alex Barre-Boulet
This award goes to the player recognized as the smartest player on the ice throughout the year. He is in the right place at the right time to make the necessary play.

Eastern Shore Associates “Most Improved” Player of the Year - #25 Cal Foote
This award goes to the player who has shown the most improvement throughout the year.

Ephesus “Brightest Prospect”/Rookie of the Year Award - #12 Alex Barre-Boulet
This award goes to the best prospect of the year.

Gannon Pest Control “Pest of the Year” Award - #89 Cory Conacher
This award goes to the player who was considered the hardest to play against for an opposing team.

NBT Bank “Plus/Minus Player of Year” Award - #27 Dominik Masin
This award goes to the most dependable Crunch player, the one who leads the team in the plus/minus category. Bodie leads the team at plus-32.

Lamacchia Power Forward of the Year Award - #15 Andy Andreoff
This award goes to the team’s best power forward.

Discount Shoe Repair “Sole” of the Syracuse Crunch - #40 Gabriel Dumont
This award goes to the player who has displayed the most heart throughout the season.

IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year - #85 Daniel Walcott
This award recognizes a Crunch player for exemplary community service.

U.S. Army Defender of the Year - #24 Cameron Gaunce
This award goes to the team’s best defenseman.

MVP Award - #21 Carter Verhaeghe
This award goes to the most valuable player on the ice.

Lightning Round

Joe Smith of The Athletic answered some questions from readers in his regular mailbag and gave some information about Steven Stamkos’ current status.

Stamkos is doing well. This pause was a “blessing in disguise,” as you said, for the Lightning captain as he was able to take his time in recovering from core surgery. Coach Jon Cooper said that if the playoffs had started on the normal schedule, in mid-April, that Stamkos would have been doubtful for the first round. Now that Stamkos has been skating three times a week at Amalie Arena with the other injured players, it sounds like he’ll be good to go whenever the Lightning open training camp in early July. Stamkos will be skating with the team in its Phase 2 workouts that start in early June, I’d imagine. Don’t forget that other injured players like Jan Rutta, Ryan McDonagh and Victor Hedman should be fully recovered as well.

Carolina Hurricanes’ head coach Rod Brind’Amour joined the ESPN on the ice podcast to discuss the NHL’s return to play. Brind’Amour admitted that he’s not happy with proposed format, explaining why the Canes were the only team aside from the Lightning who voted against a 24-team format.

The Vancouver Canucks will probably move their training camp to the United States due to Canada’s mandatory quarantine requirement.

Gary Bettman didn’t rule out the possibility of playing the Conference finals and Stanley Cup finals in home cities of involved teams.

The OHL presented their 2019-20 first all-rookie team.

The Detroit Red Wings confirmed that Jeff Blashill will remain as the team’s head coach for next season.