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Updated with Schedule: Analyzing the Syracuse Crunch Training Camp Roster for 2021 season

Where is everyone coming from and where will they go?

AHL: JAN 22 Syracuse Crunch at Laval Rocket
LAVAL, QC - JANUARY 22: Syracuse Crunch center Alex Barre-Boulet (12) waits for a faceoff during the Syracuse Crunch versus the Laval Rocket game on January 22, 2020, at Place Bell in Laval, QC
Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Syracuse Crunch have announced their training camp roster ahead of the 2021 AHL regular season. There is no official start date for the season yet, but the team is anticipating a February 5th start from the AHL.

Today, the Crunch announced the 35 players who will be attending training camp for the team, though the time frame for that has yet to be determined. Our neighbours, the Utica Comets, announced a few days ago that they were going to have a five-day camp starting on January 26th with an exhibition game against the Syracuse Crunch on January 30th at 1pm. Presumably, the Crunch will be implementing a similar timeline.

UPDATE:

The Crunch will begin training camp on Monday, January 18th — two days from now! They will then have the better part of three weeks before the expected start of the season. The January 30th game against the Utica Comets will be the only exhibition game the Crunch will play.

The first week of training camp skates have been announced. There will be a Blue vs. White scrimmage on Friday, January 22nd. It’s unclear whether we’ll be able to watch via livestream or broadcast yet.

Due to COVID-19 protocols, Crunch training camp and regular season practices will not be open to the public this season.

The Roster

The Crunch camp roster is made up of 21 forwards, 12 defensemen, and 2 goalies. There are 24 players from the Tampa Bay Lightning organization and 11 from the Florida Panthers organization. There are also a handful of junior prospects who will be starting their rookie season as the AHL begins play while other leagues like the WHL and OHL remain closed.

You can find the full roster listed out on the Crunch website.

Coming from Junior (and who’s expected to stay)

Forward Serron Noel headlines this group of prospects as a top prospect for the Panthers. The Lightning have some good prospects at the party too, but if the WHL and OHL can put together a season, most will have to be loaned back if/when their seasons start. These players who would not normally be eligible for the AHL have been marked in bold.

  • Jaydon Dureau, F (TBL, WHL)
  • Jack Finley, F (TBL, WHL)
  • Gabriel Fortier, F (TBL, QMJHL)
  • Gage Goncalves, F (TBL, WHL)
  • Declan McDonnell, F (TBL, OHL)
  • Serron Noel, F (FLA, OHL)
  • Cole Schwindt, F (FLA, OHL)
  • John Ludvig, D (FLA, WHL)
  • Quinn Schmiemann, F (TBL, WHL)

From the Solar Bears

The Orlando Solar Bears are off to a successful start to their season. However, just before a three-in-three this weekend, several of their top players were called up to the Crunch, including starting goalie Clint Windsor. It appears Windsor will be with the Crunch permanently this season as Spencer Martin is the only other goalie at camp. The Panthers have four goalies with their NHL roster/taxi squad, while the Lightning only have three with the big club. Depth is definitely a concern. Luckily, Garret Sparks has made his way back to Orlando after a brief spell in Calgary/Abbotsford.

The Panthers have no players at camp who have played in the ECHL this season.

Abbandonato, Stephens, and Windsor are the only three players at camp on AHL contracts.

  • Peter Abbandonato, F (SYR)
  • Jimmy Huntington, F (TBL)
  • Ryan Lohin, F (TBL)
  • Alex Green, D (TBL)
  • Dmitry Semykin, D (TBL)
  • Devante Stephens, D (SYR)
  • Clint Windsor, G (SYR)

From Europe

The players on this team are almost exclusively from North America. The Crunch have Semykin, who played in Russia last year but has started the season in the ECHL. The Panthers have Grigori Denisenko coming over after playing for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (KHL) last season. He hasn’t played since then.

  • Grigori Denisenko, F (FLA)

From the NCAA

The Panthers have three rookies from the NCAA on their roster, one forward and two defensemen. The Lightning signed Alex Green last year out of the NCAA and have had him playing in the ECHL this season.

  • Henry Bowlby, F (FLA)
  • Max Gildon, D (FLA)
  • Alec Rauhauser, D (FLA)

The “Rest”

And here is the rest of the lineup, with many names you know and love. Everyone here is on an NHL contract.

  • Jonathan Ang, F (FLA)
  • Alex Barre-Boulet, F (TBL)
  • Ross Colton, F (TBL)
  • Boris Katchouk, F (TBL)
  • Cristoval “Boo” Nieves, F (TBL)
  • Taylor Raddysh, F (TBL)
  • Otto Somppi, F (TBL)
  • Daniel Walcott, F (TBL)
  • Sean Day, D (TBL)
  • Jake Massie (FLA)
  • Chase Priskie (FLA)
  • Ben Thomas (TBL)
  • Luke Witkowski (TBL)
  • Spencer Martin (TBL)

Final Thoughts

While the chances aren’t high for a WHL and OHL season, I expect them to make something happen and the five players who will have to be loaned there will. There’s probably about four players in the Solar Bear group that will go back to that team after camp. It’s a big roster that will likely end up being something around 26-31 players, but it’s somewhat necessary considering the high risk of COVID-19 cases cutting rosters down as the season goes on. The current lack of depth in net is the most concerning part of the roster.