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Lightning Round: Syracuse Crunch to play in 28-team AHL season

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And Ben Thomas broke some glass.

AHL: JAN 22 Syracuse Crunch at Laval Rocket
LAVAL, QC - JANUARY 22: Syracuse Crunch goalie Spencer Martin (30) tracks the puck 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 AHL has announced 28 teams that will be participating in the 2021 regular season. The Syracuse Crunch are among the teams that have chosen to stay in. Along with the announcement, a one-season realignment was shared.

The Crunch will now play exclusively in the newly-named North Division against the Utica Comets, Binghamton Devils, Hershey Bears, Rochester Americans, LeHigh Valley Phantoms, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

The season will start on February 5th and will consist of a yet-determined number of games. Speculation is 25 at the low end, and ~40 at the high end. Teams will most likely be able to create a flexible schedule so some teams can play more games while others fewer.

Four teams within the 28 still in the league for this season have announced that they will be temporarily moving their home arena closer to their NHL teams. This has been done to make it easier for recalls, limiting quarantine time between transactions.

  • The Binghamton Devils have moved to the Devils practice rink in Newark, NJ.
  • The Providence Bruins have moved to Marlborough, MA, a 45 minute drive from TD Garden.
  • The Ontario Reign have moved to El Segundo, CA, a 20 minute drive from Staples Center.
  • The San Diego Gulls will play in Irvine, CA, a 15 minute drive from Honda Center.

Also in the announcement came the release that the Springfield Thunderbirds (STL), Charlotte Checkers (FLA), and Milwaukee Admirals (NSH) have elected to opt out of play. All will return in 2021-22.

As for the players under contract that appear to be left without a team, the St. Louis Blues have announced that Thunderbirds prospects will be loaned to the Utica Comets for the season — a team the Crunch will likely play a lot this season. The Nashville Predators have not announced where their prospects will play yet. There are also rumors the Florida Panthers prospects might end up on the Syracuse Crunch.

We’ll have more updates on the AHL situation when they come in. Schedules should be getting dealt with now.

Lightning Links

Here are the lines from Day 1 of training camp. Unlike most teams, the Lightning have mixed up their NHL and AHL players. If you squint, you can figure out the lines.

After the Lightning punted on the 2021 salary cap situation, Geo took a look at what the Lightning will have to do next year to get out of their current bind. [Raw Charge]

“There is still the potential for another move or two to happen before the start of this season which could impact the following calculations. By the time we get to the offseason, there is a good likelihood that this won’t be quite right, but it will give us a starting point to think about where the team could be going into the Seattle Kraken expansion draft and next offseason.”

Syracuse Crunch Great Ben Thomas smashed some glass on the first session of training camp. Dammit, Ben, we don’t have the budget for new glass!

Remember that gigantic brawl that happened the other night? Welp, here are the suspensions.