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Lightning Round: Hugo Alnefelt signs a three-year entry level contract with the Lightning

He won’t join the Crunch next week though

2019 NHL Draft - Round 2-7 Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

As the Tampa Bay Lightning announced yesterday, Swedish goaltender Hugo Alnefelt has signed a three-year entry level contract with the team, beginning in the 2021-22 season. Alnefelt was selected as the 71st overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. Initially the Lightning announced that Alnefelt will join the Syracuse Crunch on a tryout contract next week, but later they refuted their own statement.

Alnefelt spent the 2020-21 season with HV71 of the SHL in Sweden. He appeared in 22 games with them, recording 3.16 GAA and .904 SV%. His team finished the season in the last spot in the SHL and were relegated to the second-tier league in Sweden – HockeyAllsvenskan – after a playout series against Brynäs IF.

Alnefelt also represented Sweden at two previous World Juniors Championships, winning the Bronze medal in 2020. Earlier in 2019 he won the World U18 Championships as a member of Sweden’s U18 team, recording four wins in five games at the tournament.

During the last offseason, Alnefelt appeared in our Top 25 Under 25 ranking at the 14th spot. and Geo wrote a great profile of the player [Raw Charge]

At this point in time, Alnefelt looks like he has the potential to be a solid backup goaltender in the NHL. With Andrei Vasilevskiy secure in his role as a starter for the foreseeable future, producing a dependable back-up goaltender has to be fairly high on the development priorities for the Lightning. Alnefelt could potentially spend the next 3-4 seasons developing before making his way into the NHL as Vasilevskiy’s backup.

The goaltending situation within the Lightning organization is quite complicated. The Lightning have just one goalie under the contract for the next season – Andrei Vasilevskiy. The team also need another goalie to expose in the upcoming expansion draft and the main belief is that the Lightning will offer a qualifying offer to Spencer Martin, while they will be actively searching for a backup in the offseason.

Alnefelt, however, is still quite far away from making the NHL and will have to spend a couple of seasons in the AHL. Next season he will very likely compete for the number one spot for the Crunch with Amir Miftakhov, another Lightning prospect, who’s also reportedly coming to North America.

Lightning Links

Yesterday, the Lightning fell in a shootout to the Detroit Red Wings, in a game, where they completely outplayed the opponent [Raw Charge]

Tampa Bay should’ve won this game 4-0 nothing, and that’s with the overturned goal call in the third period. Detroit had no business even taking this game to overtime. Curtis McElhinney’s strong game goes unrewarded, but the Lightning offense both lucked out and sputtered at the most inopportune times. Tampa Bay couldn’t convert on four power-play opportunities, including a prolonged 5-on-3, with the best road power-play in the league.

Curtis McElhinney posted second strong game in a row, recording his first shutout of the season and keeping the team in the game until the eighth round of shootout.

The Syracuse Crunch were defeated by the Rochester Americans 1-3, Jimmy Huntington scored the only goal for Syracuse. Goaltender Ryan Bednard debuted for the Crunch, making 18 stops on 21 shots and Cal Foote played in his first game since reassignment from the Lightning.

Hockey News

In other Central Division games, both the Carolina Hurricanes and the Florida Panthers defeated their opponents, extending their lead on the Lightning in standings. The Nashville Predators earned an overtime win over the Dallas Stars, solidifying their hopes for the last playoff spot.

The New York Islanders have become another team to clinch a Stanley Cup Playoff berth.

Goaltender Ryan Miller made 23 stops in his final game in the NHL, helping his team to earn a victory against the Los Angeles Kings. Earlier this week he announced his retirement.