The Tampa Bay Lightning announced on Monday that they have reduced their training camp by 22 players. With the Syracuse Crunch set to open their training camp on Tuesday, the timing is perfect for the Bolts to start paring down their numbers. There were 13 forwards, 6 defensemen, and 3 goaltenders released from the camp with the majority of them bound for Syracuse.
Maxim Cajkovic, Jaydon Dureau, Shawn Element (invitee), Remi Elie, Gabriel Fortier, Gage Goncalves, Cole Koepke, Jimmy Huntington, Alexei Lipanov, Antoine Morand, Otto Somppi, Odeen Tufto and Daniel Walcott
Brandon Crawley, Alex Green, Ryan Jones (invitee), Wyatt McLeod (invitee), Dmitri Semykin and Jack Thomspon
Hugo Alnefelt, Maxime Legace, Eamon McAdam (invitee)
There are really no surprises on the list as none of the 22 really had a chance to make the Lightning out of training camp. With their release the Bolts now have 32 players remaining in camp (18 forwards, 11 defensemen, 3 goaltenders). Amir Miftakhov is the third goaltender still in Tampa and indicates that the staff wants to see a little more out of him over the next week before they reassign him as well. It could be an indication that they feel he is a little further along in his development than Hugo Alnefelt which might be a surprise to some.
The numbers might go down a little more as forwards Gabriel Dumont and Charles Hudon were reportedly put on waivers Sunday along with defensemen Sean Day and Darren Raddysh. Daniel Walcott, Otto Somppi, and Maxime Legace all cleared waivers on Sunday and are expected to play in Syracuse to start the season.
Speaking of the Crunch, on Monday they announced their training camp schedule. It is set to open Tuesday, October 5th at the Upstate Medical University Arena at 2:45 PM. Practices begin Wednesday at 10:15 AM and continue through the week. Their first exhibition game is scheduled for Saturday the 9th against the Utica Comets.
The Lightning still have cuts to make to get to their final roster, and the usual suspects that are fighting for the open positions on the roster are still in camp. Alex Barré-Boulet, Taylor Raddysh, Boris Katchouk, Simon Ryfors, and Gemel Smith are still in Tampa and have a week to show the coaches they are ready to fill the spots on the bottom line.
If the Lightning carry 14 forwards at the beginning of the season there are basically 5 players competing for 3 spots. ABB seems to have had the best camp of the contenders based on his numbers so far. Unfortunately for Gemel Smith, the injury he suffered in a scrimmage last week has kept him out of game action.
On the defensive side, It looks like the battle will come down to Andrej Sustr and Fredrik Claesson for the role of seventh defenseman. Cal Foote likely starts the season on IR and Zach Bogosian likely slots into the third pairing with Mikhail Sergachev.
There will probably be a few more players removed from camp this week as the staff whittles down the roster even more, but it’s likely they won’t make the decision on the final roster until right before the puck drops for the game against Pittsburgh next week to open the season.