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Lightning Round: who’s left on Tampa Bay’s camp roster?

A look at the available jobs as camp nears its close.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Philadelphia Flyers
PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 05: Claude Giroux #28 and Kevin Hayes #13 of the Philadelphia Flyers involved in a scrum against Alex Killorn #17 and Gabriel Fortier #82 of the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Wells Fargo Center on December 5, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

The NHL regular season begins on Tuesday, October 11th for the Tampa Bay Lightning (and the whole league). We will get real, meaningful, NHL hockey in a mere seven days, woohoo!

And with the coming of the regular season means the end of preseason. The Lightning have not dressed their regular lineup for any of the team’s three games up to this point, so none of those results have been any kind of representative sample for the team this season, or at the very least what we can expect from players looking to fill open jobs.

This will change this weekend as the Lightning are set to play two games against the Florida Panthers on Thursday and Saturday, and with the Bolts camp roster dwindled down to 26 players, it will be the real team that we’ll see.

And that team we see will determine the roster decisions for next week. Who gets the 12th forward spot, the 23rd roster spot, etc. If I’m able to watch it (I live in Canada) I will definitely try to focus on the players I will speak on below.

Allow me to break down the roster (of 26) that’s left following waivers and reassignments to the Syracuse Crunch that occured over the past week, and then break down how the roster might play out over the next week.

The lines are based on yesterday’s skate.

Injured (2)

Anthony Cirelli (inj), Zach Bogosian (inj)

Forwards (14)

Vladislav Namestnikov - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov
Brandon Hagel - Brayden Point - Alex Killorn
Cole Koepke - Nick Paul - Ross Colton
Pat Maroon - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry
Gabriel Fortier
Pierre-Cedric Labrie

Defenders (8)

Victor Hedman - Cal Foote
Mikhail Sergachev - Erik Cernak
Ian Cole - Philippe Myers
Haydn Fleury - Nick Perbix

Goalies (2)

Andrei Vasilevskiy
Brian Elliott

*Note: all players the Lightning have cut have successfully been assigned to the Syracuse Crunch or their junior team. No one lost to waivers. Crunch camp opened yesterday.

With Anthony Cirelli (and Bogo) on LTIR, the Lightning have plenty of cap space to run a full 23-player roster starting on the first day of the season. That leaves the very obvious 20 player lineup, plus three extras.

One thing I definitely need to get out of the way first is that Pierre-Cedric Labrie is on an AHL contract and a PTO. He is not part of this roster unless the Lightning sign him to an NHL contract, nullifying his AHL contract with the Crunch. It should also be mentioned that Labrie is 35-years-old, last played in the NHL eight seasons ago, incase that’s not enough of a reason. If he was capable of any kind of NHL role he would’ve gotten one by now. He is, by all accounts, here to deal with the Florida Panthers in one of the final two preseason games in case they start targeting players. That’s his job. That’s why he’s here.

And if anyone is looking for some snarl, go ahead and look up Cole Koepke, I wrote his Top 25 Under 25 article.

After that longer than brief aside, let’s talk about what the roster could look like for opening night. Specifically the spares.

I see Koepke is slotted into the third line, which is a great place for him to be in. Gabriel Fortier was also skating with that line, so he’s in with a shout for the same sort of role. Both players will all-but certainly make the team. Add in the six defenders and two goalies, and that’s 21. Two more to go.

Haydn Fleury was signed to fill-in for Bogosian while the veteran defenseman recovers from surgery, he requires waivers if he’s to be sent down, but as the seventh defenseman he’s going to be making the team. That’s 22. One more to go.

Now this last, coveted, spot on the roster is tricky. Currently Nick Perbix is the frontrunner for the last job as the eighth defenseman. There isn’t a forward that wasn’t cut that could fill the role, so it should probably be Perbix. And I think it likely will be, but there is a chance the Lightning go shopping on the open market. The open waiver market.

Who knows what players will be available on October 9th/10th, the last day for preseason waivers before rosters are due. There will be some decent players out on the wire, but I assume few will be available to the Lightning, who are far down the priority list because of their place in the regular season standings last year. But it’s possible some player the team wants could sneak through. If there is someone on the team’s radar, they’ll for sure pick them up and send Perbix down (who is waivers exempt). If not, Perbix is the guy.

Poll

Who gets the coveted 23rd spot on the roster?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    Nick Perbix
    (38 votes)
  • 45%
    Waiver Guy
    (38 votes)
  • 9%
    Someone else
    (8 votes)
84 votes total Vote Now

And then once Cirelli and Bogosian are back, the Lightning will have to cut themselves down to a 21-skater roster. Probably 12 forwards, seven defenders, and two goalies. All of a sudden, neither Koepke or Fortier keep their job in the lineup as they’ll get pushed to the 13th and 14th forwards. As well, Fleury off to waivers, hopefully joining Perbix (exempt) on the Crunch. But we’ll deal with that reality when it comes.


Lightning Links

As I mentioned above, Syracuse Crunch camp opened yesterday. Dumont, ABB, Smith, Robert, Carrick, Day, Raddysh, and Lagace all safely on the team. This season’s team should be really good and fun to watch. Excited for our new Crunch correspondent (spoiler!) to sink their teeth into this team.

“The Lightning Foundation and Lightning Owner, Jeff Vinik, pledged $1 Million each to support Hurricane Ian relief efforts, totaling $2 Million, to help each community in-need in the state of Florida. Join the Lightning as they continue to raise funds and supplies for those impacted by Hurricane Ian.” The efforts include a supply drive and a team auction run by the Lightning Foundation.

The secret of the Lightning development program: ‘A village to raise a player’ — a discussion with Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx and other members of the Lightning’s development staff.

Happy belated anniversary to history!

The Islanders signed Mat Barzal to a big extension in the hopes the 25-year-old will have a breakout season above his 60-point peak.

The Flames are bringing back a mascot you might remember from your childhood, or nightmares.