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Lightning Round: Tampa Bay recalls Taylor Raddysh and Spencer Martin

Gemel Smith and Chris Gibson head to Syracuse

Scott Thomas Photography

While there certainly are benefits to having a taxi squad of players at a team’s disposal for the entire season, it also brings a few new problems as well. One of them is keeping players fresh who haven’t played in a few weeks. On Monday, the Tampa Bay Lightning cycled a couple of players from the Syracuse Crunch up to their taxi squad. Spencer Martin and Taylor Raddysh were brought up while Gemel Smith and Christopher Gibson headed to the Crunch.

Gibson has been on the taxi squad since the beginning of the season, and while he has dressed for a few games, has yet to appear in any for the Lightning. He is likely see a few games for the Crunch just to knock off the rust. Smith appeared in four games for the Lightning, recording three assists while averaging under ten minutes a game. However, his playing time has been limited since the return of Anthony Cirelli to the line-up. Coach Cooper has elected to play Ross Colton or Alex Volkov on the fourth line.

Smith should help the ailing Crunch offense as he has a history of producing at the AHL level. In 283 games over five seasons he’s recorded 166 points (73 goals, 93 assists). Last season he was one of Syracuse’s offensive leaders with 22 goals and 18 assists in 50 games.

Spencer Martin will assume Gibson’s role as the third goalie in Tampa and is unlikely to see much playing time for the Bolts. As for Raddysh, it will be interesting to see if Coach Cooper works him into the line-up as he did Alex Barré-Boulet and Ross Colton. With roster changes likely in the offseason it would be nice to get a showcase of how one of their top prospects might perform at the NHL level.

Ranked 9th in our most recent Top 25 Under 25, Raddysh has the skills to be a scoring winger in the NHL, but has to be more consistent with his effort on a night-to-night basis. So far this year in Syracuse he’s recorded 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) in 9 games while averaging over 20 minutes a night. A big kid (6’3”, 216 lbs) he will have to show Coach Cooper a willingness to fight for the puck along the boards if he wants to stick with the team for more than a cup of coffee.

The Lightning’s taxi squad currently stands at six: Raddysh, Martin, Luke Schenn, Barré-Boulet, Colton, and Andreas Borgman. It is possible that at least one more forward is sent back to Syracuse before the Crunch’s next game on Friday against Utica.

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