Following a raft of injuries on defense, the Tampa Bay Lightning have assigned defenseman Ben Thomas to their Taxi Squad. Thomas was drafted by the Lightning in the fourth round of the 2014 draft lo those many years ago. Since then, Thomas has switched from forward to defense and become a steady presence on the Syracuse Crunch (for better or worse).
Thomas, 24, joins Taylor Raddysh, Gemel Smith, and Christopher Gibson as the four players on the team’s Taxi Squad. He sits as the seventh defenseman on the team after Luke Schenn and Andreas Borgman. This is with Jan Rutta and Erik Cernak injured and Ryan McDonagh having returned to the lineup last night.
Brayden Point was also drafted in 2014, but has played 331 more games than Thomas. Many have called Thomas a veteran of the AHL, and that is certainly true, but another player who is 24 new “prospect” Odeen Tufto from the NCAA. This just goes to show when a player has been in the AHL for some years, it can feel like they’ve been around forever because they’re always relatively close to the NHL but never quite there. Whereas players in the NCAA can be “stashed away” for years and still arrive with the perception that they are basically teenagers with a lot of runway left.
The Lightning caught their losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Blue Jackets. [Raw Charge]
“The Tampa Bay Lightning entered Thursday night’s game on a three-game losing streak facing the Columbus Blue Jackets. They played well in Tuesday night’s match-up with Columbus, but couldn’t solve Elvis Merzlikins. They faced him again on Thursday night looking for a better outcome. The Lightning also lost defenseman Jan Rutta to injury on Tuesday, but were reinforced for this game by the return of Ryan McDonagh. Andrei Vasilevskiy also returned to the net.”
In prospect news, it seems fairly certain the OHL season will not be starting in the near future. This means Lightning prospect Declan McDonnell will likely stay with the Syracuse Crunch for the rest of the year, with 2020 third-round pick Jack Thompson still on the sidelines for this season.
OHL not deterred by 28-day provincial lockdown. "(We) remain fully committed to playing a 2020-21 season . . . and continue to work with Government regarding our Return to Play and looks forward to getting players back on the ice as soon (and safely) as possible."— Ryan Pyette (@RyanatLFPress) April 1, 2021
The Vancouver Canucks have shut down their facilities following an outbreak within the team. They have called up several prospects from the Utica Comets that will have to sit in a two-week quarantine. I’ll talk about this more next week in my Crunch article as the AHL team is set to play the Comets several times in the next few weeks.
From yesterday’s Lightning Round, Nathan MacKinnon threw Conor Garland’s helmet at him, he has since gotten a fine for his troubles. I really don’t know fines this small do when players like MacKinnon are making multiple millions per seasons. Seems like it only pushes the lower class players. Connor McDavid got the same fine for a headshot, it is literally pennies to him.
Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon has been fined $5,000, the maximum allowable under the CBA, for unsportsmanlike conduct on Arizona’s Conor Garland.— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) April 1, 2021